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

Thousands of new microbial communities identified in human body

September 20, 2017
A new study of the human microbiome—the trillions of microbial organisms that live on and within our bodies—has analyzed thousands of new measurements of microbial communities from the gut, skin, mouth, and vaginal microbiome, ...

Study finds immune system is critical to regeneration

September 20, 2017
The answer to regenerative medicine's most compelling question—why some organisms can regenerate major body parts such as hearts and limbs while others, such as humans, cannot—may lie with the body's innate immune system, ...

Immune cells produce wound healing factor, could lead to new IBD treatment

September 20, 2017
Specific immune cells have the ability to produce a healing factor that can promote wound repair in the intestine, a finding that could lead to new, potential therapeutic treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according ...

As men's weight rises, sperm health may fall

September 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—A widening waistline may make for shrinking numbers of sperm, new research suggests.

New model may help science overcome the brain's fortress-like barrier

September 19, 2017
Scientists have helped provide a way to better understand how to enable drugs to enter the brain and how cancer cells make it past the blood brain barrier.

Cell-based therapy success could be boosted by new antioxidant

September 19, 2017
Cell therapies being developed to treat a range of conditions could be improved by a chemical compound that aids their survival, research suggests.

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.