Radish root - alternative to phenoxyethanol and paraben preservatives
Apparently, it all started with avian flu. During the SARS epidemic, researchers in Korea found out that chickens fed kimchi had a better rate of recovery than those fed standard poultry feed. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of fermented vegetables. And it seems that the ferment is a powerful anti-microbial.
Then – connecting the dots in a way that I really like – a company called Active Micro Systems reasoned that beauty product consumers are turned off by parabens, phenoxyethanol and other potentially harmful preservatives and that fermented vegetables could provide an alternative. So they added leuconostoc (the same bacteria used in kimchi) to radish roots and left it to ferment. The next job was to isolate the peptide with the antimicrobial activity.
The resulting ingredient, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, seems to do a good job at 05%-2% concentrations against a whole range of tiny nasties from e.coli to a.niger and it is recommended that it can be used as the sole preservative in a cosmetic.
Leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate crops up in a couple of mainstream beauty products such as Peter Thomas Roth Lashes to Die For and Elizabeth Arden Prevage Body. Although Elizabeth Arden completely defeats the object by hedging its bets by adding most parabens known to man and several other preservatives including phenoxyethanol.
Another natural preservative from AMS is made from aspen bark extract, from the quaking aspen tree found North America. Apparently, the bark is rich in salicylates that function as a defensive mechanism against invading parasites.