Marine biotechnologies

Harnessing singular expertise for cosmetics

Treasures from the sea and its shores

Did you know that algae and marine plants contain infinite riches? They are known for their moisturizing and anti-oxidizing qualities, making them particularly precious for the cosmetics industry.

Heading to the northern coast of Brittany, near Bréhat (France). The archipelago is a true "underwater Amazon”, home to outstanding marine life, including over 800 species of algae and hundreds of species of halophyte plants.

A unique marine expertise

It all happens at Pontrieux, a few miles from these extraordinary resources. Every day, the BiotechMarine teams, specialized in active marine ingredients, work to discover the secrets of these natural substances and harness them for cosmetics products.

BiotechMarine is a subsidiary of Seppic, a company owned by Air Liquide. With nearly 40 employees, BiotechMarine is one of Seppic's 5 production sites. It works on 60 active marine ingredients from 40 species of algae and selected sea plants.

To conserve natural environments and respond to the cosmetics industry and its ever-increasing demand for innovation and sustainability, the experts at BiotechMarine have, as true ocean lovers, developed biotechnologies to ensure the sustainable sourcing of plant cells and limit the impact on biodiversity.

"Many things remain to be discovered in the marine world and to be used in the cosmetics market. I find it fascinating to seek out new molecules in these biodiversity treasure troves with a view to providing our customers with original active ingredients."

Rémi Laville

Head of R&D at BiotechMarine


Reproducing nature in a lab

Halophyte plants are exposed to numerous aggressive elements such as salinity, ultraviolet rays and backwash. The defense mechanisms they have developed to protect themselves make them incomparable resources for skin care. BiotechMarine researchers study these mechanisms to create in the laboratory active ingredients inspired by nature.

BiotechMarine has notably pioneered a technology called Celtosome, used to cultivate and reproduce marine plant cells in the lab. It is a real molecule "factory" for synthesizing targeted active principles as part of a policy on ecodesign and bio-inspiration.

How do you go from plant to cream? Concretely, cells are first obtained from thin cross-sections of tissue from fresh plants (stems, roots, leaves, etc.).

 Then, the cells multiply in Petri dishes by forming clusters. They are suspended in a constantly moving liquid environment.

Once critical mass is reached, the cultures go into bioreactors. These consist of large bags of several hundred liters that sway back and forth to mimic the natural aeration process of liquid culture environments such as ocean waves.

The cells are then dried and reduced into powder. This intensification process generates substantial cell numbers using a very small quantity of plant (500 liters from 100 ml) over a 40-month production cycle.

Finally, the powder obtained is delivered to major cosmetics brands to be included in their products, mainly moisturizing and anti-aging creams.

Using biotechnologies that serve to multiply cells in the laboratory, BiotechMarine minimizes the size of marine plant and algae samples taken from the biomass and preserves biodiversity. It is also the illustration of an ability to innovate in good conscience!