Cupuaçu butter: promising fruit of Brazilian biodiversity for the world market of natural cosmetics

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Cupuaçu butter: promising fruit of Brazilian biodiversity for the world market of natural cosmetics

The “Cupuaçuzeiro” (Theobroma grandiflorum), tree that generates the fruit cupuaçu, is one of the most important fruit trees of the Brazilian Amazon. From the same family that belongs the cacao tree, Sterculiaceae, its average size varies from 4 to 8 meters in height, and can reach up to 18 meters. It is easily found in the Eastern Amazon, in addition to other states, such as Maranhão and Pará.

The Cupuaçu Butter

The cupuaçu butter is obtained from the seed of the fruit. The entire value chain in the production of butter, from the fruit extraction to processing, has a direct impact on the final product. If it is conducted in a sustainable way, without harming the native environment, obtaining cupuaçu butter keeps all properties of interest guaranteed and still generates income and quality of life for local farmers.

Cupuaçu butter is a lipid, composed of triglycerides whose structure is a balanced composition between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, which gives the product a low melting point (approximately 30°C) and appearance of a soft solid melting rapidly to the contact with the skin.

Regarding the fatty acid profile and saponifiable matter, the cupuaçu butter resembles cocoa butter. Its main composition is the oleic acid (C18: 1 – 39.55% – omega 9), an unsaturated fatty acid, and stearic (C18: 0-35.08%), a saturated fatty acid, a balance which gives this butter characteristics very interesting. It is also composed of arachidic acid (C20: 0 – 11.72%), palmitic (C16: 0 – 7.14%), omega 6 (C18: 2 – 3.39%), lignoceric and omega 3 acids (<1.00%) and lauric, myristic, omega 7 and margic acids (<0.01%).

In its unsaponifiable fraction, which corresponds to approximately 0.81% of the total composition, the following compounds are found: the tocopherols γ-tocopherol (8.9%), β-tocopherol (4.2%) and β-tocotrienol, vitamin E constituents, with antioxidant properties (by reducing the oxidative stress of the cells because they are carriers of free radicals – SERRA et al., 2016); the phytosterols β-sitosterol (78.56%), stigmasterol (10.35%) and campesterol (4.4%), which act as repositories of the lipid barrier of the skin, decreasing dryness and dehydration. In addition, vitamin C, A, B1 and B2, xanthines, flavonoids, pectin, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and iron were still found in cupuaçu butter.

Potential substitute for Lanolin of animal origin

Cupuaçu butter has several advantages! Among them its triglycerides have excellent water absorption capacity (stabilizes emulsions and assists in hydration properties). An interesting fact is that the water absorption potential of this butter can reach 240%, higher than lanolin and some common animal and vegetable steroids for this purpose.

Because of this, cupuaçu butter can be used as ointment for protection the skin from cracks and fissures, besides aftershave emulsions and capillary masks. In addition, this butter presents a certain absorption capacity of UVB and UVC rays, so that some sunscreens – made from cupuaçu butter – are already part of the national and international market.

Potential anti-pollution and anti-aging properties for hair and skin

Researchers in the field and the major cosmetics industries have discovered and proven the effectiveness of cupuaçu butter due to its emollient, moisturizing and healing properties. Together, these properties enable a considerable reduction in the process of dehydration and aging of the skin as well as the treatment of dermatitis and ulcerations. In this way, a profusion of products for beauty can have in its constitution the cupuaçu butter, such as products for hair, skin, personal hygiene, items to makeup and facial formulations.

Indeed, some of them already have the cupuaçu butter as active ingredient and responsible for the main characteristics of its composition. They are: shampoos for chemically treated and dry hair, burns and dermatitis treatment creams, hand and foot lotions, moisturizing lipsticks, creamy deodorants, sticks, as well as children’s and anti-aging products.

Citróleo Cupuaçu Butter Differentials:

Social Responsability: The cupuaçu butter produced by Citróleo has total traceability control. The harvest period of seeds occurs during the rainy season, when the fruit leaves the plant in a natural way, thus respecting its maturation time. The fruits are then selected in a completely non-aggressive manner to the environment. The center of this harvest occurs in the residences of self-called scavengers, a total of at least 15 families benefited.

Natural Quality without Refining Process: The vegetable butters produced by Citróleo are not subjected to any refining stage. It would be at this stage that they would be exposed to high temperatures in order to be neutralized, clarified and deodorized. However, this type of technique degrades those several biomolecules of high nutritional value, naturally present in the oils and butters, mentioned above. Otherwise, the cold pressing process, used by Citróleo, preserves all these compounds and guaranteed their properties, since they do not go through the thermal stress of refining.

Guaranteed Quality of Purity: Besides that, the company does not perform any kind of blend for adulteration of the butters it produces, since the oils used for this purpose have no nutritional benefit or any value that can be added in a final cosmetic. Thus, the vegetable products offered by Citróleo also maintain their natural aspects, such as their characteristic color and odor, their physical form and the actual concentration of the substances of interest.

Phytocosmetics that use Amazonian raw materials carry in their formulation all the local culture of the people and the exotic appeal of the fruits, principles as fundamental as the effectiveness of the products. Thus, aware of the importance of the whole production chain involved, consumers are increasingly seeking for labels not only with ethical appeals but also with socio-environmental responsibility.

The Citróleo Group is concerned about the future and well-being of its employees. Therefore, it uses local knowledge and culture allied with modern techniques and high quality standard for obtaining its products and distribute them to all regions of the world. The company is committed to supporting projects and social initiatives in the communities close to the production of its vegetal products, supporting several activities related to Health, Education, Sports and Environment.