Agarobiose (AB; d-galactose-β-1,4-AHG), produced by one-step acid hydrolysis of agarose of red seaweed, is considered a promising cosmetic ingredient due to its skin-moisturizing activity. In this study, the use of AB as a cosmetic ingredient was found to be hampered due to its instability at high temperature and alkaline pH. Therefore, to increase the chemical stability of AB, we devised a novel process to synthesize ethyl-agarobioside (ethyl-AB) from the acid-catalyzed alcoholysis of agarose. This process mimics the generation of ethyl α-glucoside and glyceryl α-glucoside by alcoholysis in the presence of ethanol and glycerol during the traditional Japanese sake-brewing process. Ethyl-AB also showed in vitro skin-moisturizing activity similar to that of AB, but showed higher thermal and pH stability than AB. This is the first report of ethyl-AB, a novel compound produced from red seaweed, as a functional cosmetic ingredient with high chemical stability.
- red seaweed