A Saint John scientist wants to get a piece of the multibillion-dollar beauty industry by growing rafts of seaweed for a laboratory in Monaco.
Thierry Chopin, a biologist with the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, is growing kelp near Cooke Aquaculture fish farms in Charlotte County for Exsymol SAM, a Monaco-based pharmaceutical company.
The company researches and develops cosmetic compounds and believes there are bioactive compounds within seaweed cells that contain anti-aging ingredients that can soften skin and reverse the signs of aging.
Chopin said Exsymol SAM has taken a keen interest in the waters off New Brunswick and the properties they believe are contained in the seaweed.
"It penetrates into the skin," he said.
"The skin is quite complicated with several layers so it reaches the right layer and relaxes the skin."
Chopin is currently collecting seaweed spores, which will grow in a matter of months.
"We are now in November. By May, June, they will grow from one millimetre to a metre, a metre and a half," he said.
"Tremendous growth in winter and spring."
Once the seaweed is harvested, it will be sent for processing in Ontario and the extract will be shipped overseas.
Chopin said he would love to see the product sold to a cosmetics giant such as L'Oréal or Estée Lauder.