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

Scientists find key to regenerating blood vessels

November 23, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) identifies a signaling pathway that is essential for angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. The ...

Surprising roles for muscle in tissue regeneration, study finds

November 22, 2017
A team of researchers at Whitehead has illuminated an important role for different subtypes of muscle cells in orchestrating the process of tissue regeneration. In a paper published in the November 22 issue of Nature, they ...

Study reveals new mechanisms of cell death in neurodegenerative disorders

November 22, 2017
Researchers at King's College London have discovered new mechanisms of cell death, which may be involved in debilitating neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Cinnamon turns up the heat on fat cells

November 21, 2017
New research from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute has determined how a common holiday spice—cinnamon—might be enlisted in the fight against obesity.

How rogue immune cells cross the blood-brain barrier to cause multiple sclerosis

November 21, 2017
Drug designers working on therapeutics against multiple sclerosis should focus on blocking two distinct ways rogue immune cells attack healthy neurons, according to a new study in the journal Cell Reports.

New simple test could help cystic fibrosis patients find best treatment

November 21, 2017
Several cutting-edge treatments have become available in recent years to correct the debilitating chronic lung congestion associated with cystic fibrosis. While the new drugs are life-changing for some patients, they do not ...

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.