Extremolytes are the basis of our success. These natural molecules are formed inside of extremophilic microorganisms which are one of the smallest and oldest forms of life on earth.

They can live under extreme conditions such as strong UV radiation, heat, or dryness. They are found in extreme environments such as geysers, deserts, salt lakes, or the polar ice.

These extremophilic microorganisms possess unique biological defense mechanisms to combat extreme environmental stresses. In these mechanisms, extremolytes play an important role. Extremolytes are low-molecular substances. They stabilize biologic structures such as membranes, proteins, or nucleic acids and protect extremophiles from environmental stress.

Thanks to our intensive research, it was shown that the protection principles of extremophiles, proven since millions of years, have benefits also for humans and animals. Therefore, we use these properties successfully in medical devices, cosmetics, and life science products.

Our extremolyte portfolio currently comprises Ectoin®, Glycoin® natural (INCI: Glyceryl Glucoside), and 28Extremoin®, which is a mixture of Ectoin® and Hydroxyectoin.

One of the most abundant extremolytes in nature is Ectoin®. It was found in the 1980s inside of halophilic (salt-loving) bacteria in Wadi El Natrun (Natron Valley), Egypt, and is an amino acid derivative.

Ectoin® has kosmotropic properties. Kosmotropic molecules contribute to the stability and structure of water-water interactions. They cause water molecules to interact favorably. This fact also stabilizes intermolecular interactions in biomolecules such as proteins. Transferred to a biological system, this means that Ectoin® surrounds itself but also neighboring proteins or cell membranes with a water layer. This structure is named “Ectoin® Hydro Complex”.

Ectoin® itself neither interacts with proteins nor does it enter into cells. Due to the formation of water layers on top of cell membranes or lipids, Ectoin® is able to stabilize these structures and to support their fluidity. Due to this property –and this is the most important factor – Ectoin® is able to protect human epithelia from allergens, UV light, air pollution, heat or dryness. Biomolecules, such as proteins, are strengthened in their native structure so that their activity is ensured. As a result, inflammations that are caused by these stress factors and which are a reason for various inflammatory conditions of the skin, nose, eyes, lung etc., are reduced.

Just imagine the African desert. Not a drop of water for months - only heat, drought, dust and sun. The earth is cracked and the plants look withered. During dry season in the desert, which can last for years, resurrection plants (e. g. Myrothamnus flabellifolia) have to face the loss of all of their cellular water. For every other plant this normally means the overall damage of their cell structure and death. The stress protection molecule Glyceryl Glucoside (also called Gluco-Glycerol or Glycerylglucose) which is the key ingredient of Glycoin® natural, keeps the structures of the Myrothamnus plant alive and protects it from dying despite total desiccation and then, when the rain period begins, it starts to bloom again.

We produce Glycoin® natural which contains only that stereoisomer of Glyceryl Glucoside, which is present as a stress protection molecule in the resurrection plant and blue-green algae ("Spirulina"). In contrast to Ectoin®, which is an amino acid derivate, Glyceryl Glucoside is a sugar derivate.

The mode of action of Glyceryl Glucoside, the main ingredient of Glycoin® natural, is also well understood: In case of extreme dryness it prevents the destruction of cell membranes. If the water in the plant disappears, the surfaces of membranes are coming very close, which results e.g. in a restructuring of the cell membranes (from fluid to gel structure) and de-mixing of membrane components (see picture on the left hand side). When the plant gets rehydrated, the natural structures of cells cannot be restored and the plant is dead.

The presence of Glyceryl Glucoside between the cell membranes can limit their close approach and, thereby, diminish the physical stresses that cause restructuring of the cell membranes (lipid fluid-to-gel phase transitions) during dehydration. That means that the cell membranes can keep a healthy structure also in case of extreme dryness – thanks to Gyceryl Glucoside.

Hydroxyectoin

Hydroxyectoin – part of our 28Extremoin® - and Ectoin® are structurally closely related. Hydroxyectoin was found first in the salt tolerant microorganism Sporosarcina pasteurii. In various microorganisms it is co-existent with Ectoin® and protects since millions of years microorganisms from extreme salt concentrations or from high temperatures.

Hydroxyectoin has the same mode of action as Ectoin®. It stabilizes proteins, nucleic acids, membranes, and cells. It does not interfere with enzymatic reactions and is compatible with the metabolism of cells.

Hydoxyectoin is also used in our Life Science products for biostabilization because it stabilizes and protects all biologic macromolecules, DNA and also cells.

Hydroxyectoin is enzymatically produced by bitop.