Canada teen discovers tree pulp has anti-aging benefits (Update)

May 8, 2012
A timber mill in France which makes pulp. An Ontario teenager who recently moved from Singapore to Canada won a national science award Tuesday for her groundbreaking work on the anti-aging properties of tree pulp, officials said.

A Singapore-born teenager who recently moved to Canada won a national science award Tuesday for her groundbreaking work on the anti-aging properties of tree pulp, officials said.

Janelle Tam, 16, won the $5,000 award in the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada for showing that cellulose, the woody material found in trees that enables them to stand, also acts as a potent anti-oxidant.

"Her super anti-oxidant compound could one day help improve health and anti-aging products by neutralizing more of the harmful free-radicals found in the body," Bioscience Education Canada said in a statement.

Tam's work involved tiny particles in the tree pulp known as nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC), which is flexible, durable, and also stronger than steel.

Tam, a student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, chemically bound NCC to a well-known nano-particle called a buckminster fullerene, or buckyballs, which are already used in cosmetic and anti-aging products.

"The new NCC-buckyball combination acted like a 'nano-vacuum,' sucking up free radicals and neutralizing them," said Bioscience Education Canada.

Since cellulose is already used as filler and stabilizer in many vitamin products, one day Tam hopes NCC will make those products into super-charged free radical neutralizers.

"It would be really nice to commercialize this," Tam, who moved to Canada five years ago, told AFP.

"I envision it more as an ingredient that would be added to existing formulations, so it could be added to tablets or bandaids for a wound dressing or it could be added to cosmetic cream."

She believes NCC may also be superior to Vitamin C or E because it is more stable, so it may work for longer periods of time.

"I think it also opens up a whole new field of research for NCCs," Tam added. "Doing research is like finding out things that no one has found out before, which I find really exciting."

Canada's national forest research institute, FPInnovations, has predicted a $250 million market in the coming decade for NCC.

A pulp and paper mill that opened in January in Quebec now serves as the world's first large-scale NCC production plant.

"When we founded the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada 19 years ago we believed then, as we do now, in the potential of our youth to develop the next big breakthrough in science," said Sanofi Pasteur Canada President Mark Lievonen, who presented the first place prize.

The judges came from Canada's National Research Council and other leading science institutions.

Explore further: Ecologically friendly, industrial foams from renewable resources

Related Stories

Ecologically friendly, industrial foams from renewable resources

August 1, 2011
A method to use paper mill waste to produce ecologically friendly, industrial foams from renewable resources has been developed by a graduate student in agriculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Recommended for you

Bio-inspired materials give boost to regenerative medicine

August 18, 2017
What if one day, we could teach our bodies to self-heal like a lizard's tail, and make severe injury or disease no more threatening than a paper cut?

Female mouse embryos actively remove male reproductive systems

August 17, 2017
A protein called COUP-TFII determines whether a mouse embryo develops a male reproductive tract, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. The ...

Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer

August 17, 2017
A mutation that helps make cells immortal is critical to the development of a tumor, but new research at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that becoming immortal is a more complicated process than originally ...

New Pathology Atlas maps genes in cancer to accelerate progress in personalized medicine

August 17, 2017
A new Pathology Atlas is launched today with an analysis of all human genes in all major cancers showing the consequence of their corresponding protein levels for overall patient survival. The difference in expression patterns ...

New technique overcomes genetic cause of infertility

August 17, 2017
Scientists have created healthy offspring from genetically infertile male mice, offering a potential new approach to tackling a common genetic cause of human infertility.

Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?

August 17, 2017
Gastric carcinoma is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, primarily because most patients present at an advanced stage of the disease. The main cause of this cancer is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GaryB
not rated yet May 08, 2012
Might be a great science project, but I'm not aware of any actual anti-aging effects being shown with anti-oxidants as yet.
Roland
not rated yet May 08, 2012
Kids, eat your report cards. You'll live longer.
BetterByDesign
not rated yet May 12, 2012
Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is derived from wood pulp as well. The research on wood pulp and DMSO seem to support each other in that they are "miracle" drugs.

REFERENCES
DMSO: Nature's Healer

ISBN #: 0895295482
mr_michaelgirard
not rated yet May 12, 2012
Very recently there was an article of the same nature. It had nano particle carbon solution in virgin olive oil fed to mice. They had a fifty percent (?) increase in life span.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.