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‘Sweet’ Pollinating for Personal Care


As the natural products industry strives to find natural alternatives to synthetic- and petroleum-based personal care ingredients, bee keepers are an important part to this strategy. Minnesota-based Morris Sun Tribune reported the latest research project on “new/alternative biomass and oilseed crops being developed by scientists at the USDA-ARS North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory."

The crops—calendula, camelina, cuphea and echium—offer an alternative to coconut oil used in personal care formulations. Echium is one that will catch the personal care industry’s eye, as it produces stearodonic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid commonly used as an anti-wrinkle agent. The bees pollinating these crops are currently in Minnesota, and will be heading for California’s almond crop in February. 

Bees need floral diversity in order to stay healthy; and from almonds to blueberries, these crops depend on pollination. The research happening at Soil Labs are crossing their fingers, hoping the oilseed corps “could be planted in poor soils or double-cropped with traditional crops such as soybeans," since bees’ pollinating landscapes are becoming scarce. Check out the full story here.

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