Research Projects Start Plant Endemic
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Code: Τ2ΕΔΚ-01647

Utilization of a narrow Greek endemic plant species through its organic cultivation for the production of innovative cosmetic care products

This project is implemented within the framework of the RESEARCH – CREATE – INNOVATE Action, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union and national resources through the EP. Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship & Innovation (EPANEK)

The cosmetic industry is a rapidly developing field based on science and innovation that constitutes one of the main pillars of Europe's economy and provides over 2 millions jobs throughout Europe. Although over the past 30 years the cosmetic industry’s interest is increasingly focused on the exploitation of herbal ingredients deriving from aromatic and medicinal plants, the significant wealth of hundreds of native endemic plant species of Greece remains unexplored, unexploited and practically unprotected. This creates significant opportunities for the agriculture and food industry as well as the Greek cosmetic industry.

One of these plants presenting particular interest is Helichrysum amorginum L., a specialist endemic plant that grows exclusively in the island of Amorgos and the surrounding islets. Anti oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-aging and antimicrobial properties have been recorded in the international literature for many related plants. Helichrysum italicum and Helichrysum stoechas have been widely exploited initially by conventional medicine and later by the cosmetic industry for the production of commercial preparations from cultures that are cultivated mainly in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and France. Having drawn the attention of only a few researchers, Helichrysum amorginum remains practically unexplored and in the shadow of the above popular species of helichrysum. Recently KORRES in cooperation with ELGO-DIMITRA confirmed that vegetative propagation of this plant species is possible, laying down the foundations for further research on the exploitation of this plant.

The aim of "Start-Plant-Endemic" project is to investigate the exploitation of this almost unexplored rare Greek plant that grows exclusively in Amorgos, using an integrated approach, as the main source of novel bioactive preparations with anti-oxidant and/or anti-aging properties for the production of skin-care products. Beginning from the study of the plant's organic culture in its natural environment, the goal of this project is the production of extracts and essential oils from various parts of the plant, characterization of its phytochemical profile and in vitro evaluation of its anti-oxidant and anti-aging properties. Afterwards, selected herbal preparations will be examined with regards to their phytotoxicity and used in the development of the final skin-care products.

The "Start-Plant-Endemic" project intends to put the endemic plants of Greece at the forefront of the international cosmetic industry and to promote international cooperations, with significant benefits for the primary production, cosmetic industry and employment.

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