Oji Group conducts research and development on adding high value to hemicellulose.
Effective Use of Hemicellulose
The wood components mainly include cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Cellulose has been used as a raw material for paper and fibers (dissolving pulp) without creating waste. However, the use of hemicellulose, which is a byproduct, has been extremely limited. Oji Group succeeded in developing technology for purifying both cellulose and hemicellulose to high purity. This has focused our research and development toward the more effective use of hemicellulose, a conventionally underutilized substance, as a product with higher added value.
(1) Hydrolyzed xylan
For use as a raw material in cosmetics, we develop a substance called hydrolyzed xylan by purifying hemicellulose.
The material is safe and has also been used with food. It has been demonstrated to keep the skin moisturized, prevent skin roughness and brighten the skin.
(2) Sulfated hemicellulose
Oji Group focuses on the fact that pentosan polysulfate sodium, a kind of sulfated hemicellulose made by purifying and chemically synthesizing hemicellulose, is used as an active pharmaceutical ingredient.
Pentosan polysulfate sodium is known to effectively suppress a wide range of symptoms, including arthritis, bladder inflammation and blood coagulation.
By using sulfated hemicellulose, we are considering entry into the market of medicinal products.
First, we have collaborated with Hokkaido University on R&D, aiming to commercialize a pharmaceutical agent for animals, in particular horses.
For people, we have been developing medicinal products for halal, leveraging the fact that the substance is plant-derived.