Sphingomonas hydrophobicum extract

Tackling cellular senescence

Bacterial extracts obtained from the fermentation of Sphingomonas hydrophobicum contain a rich mixture of active ingredients shown to significantly attenuate ageing of human skin cells.

In partnership with GREENTECH, DEINOVE performed a biodiversity screen of its large collection of bacteria in search of new active ingredients of natural origin for use in the field of cosmetics. The screen revealed one particular species, Sphingomonas hybriphobicum, with valuable anti-ageing properties.

Sphingomonas: a genus with interesting features

Sphinogomonas bacteria are gram-negative, strictly aerobic bacteria that are widely found around the planet, in both aqueous and terrestrial habitats. They are oligotrophs, which means that they can live on low levels of nutrients, and therefore easily adapt to all kinds of man-made environments. Their unique adaptation features are likely linked to some of their specificities. For instance, they are known to produce nostoxanthin, a caroteinoid with strong antioxidant properties that supports tolerance to environmental stress. In addition, while most other bacteria contain lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in their cellular envelopes, Sphingomonas species contain glycosphingolipids (GSLs), which have a general antimicrobial effect [1],  protecting the cells from neighboring bacteria, fungi and algae.

Due to their unique properties Sphigomonas bacteria have been used in the past for various biotechnological applications, from bioremediation of environmental contaminants to production of extracellular polymers such as sphingans extensively used in the food and other industries  (e.g. gellan, welan, rhamsan). But their properties had not been exploited in the field of cosmetics up until now. In the framework of its collaboration with GREENTECH, DEINOVE uncovered the potential of one particular strain, Sphingomonas hydrophobicum, to limit the negative effects of skin ageing. DEINOVE then developed the production process to achieve optimal fermentation performance and prepared extracts that were subsequently used for in vitro, ex vivo and clinical assays.

Benefits on cell senescence and skin ageing

Published in 2019 in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science [2], in vitro cell biology studies interrogated markers of cellular senescence on recontructed skin models in response to treatment with Sphingomonas hydrophobicum extracts (SH extracts). The study showed that 1) two proteins normally activated during senescence showed a decreased expression, and 2) senescence-associated ß-galactosidase expression was also decreased, suggesting an effect of the extracts in limiting skin cell senescence. Morever, expression of both fibrillin-1 and versican were increased within the reconstructed tissue, arguing for a positive effect of the extract on skin elasticity.

An in vivo study evaluated the effects of applying Sphingomonas hydrophobicum extracts on the skin of 24 subjects aged between 60 and 70 years old. After 56 days of extraction application, the biophysical properties of the skin had been modified: a regained skin flexibility was observed, together with an increase in isotropy, i.e. a reorientation in multiple directions of the lines at the skin surface, a property normally associated with younger skin.

DEINOVE’s SH extract has therefore been validated for its anti-ageing action on skin that is mainly due to its ability 1) to inhibit cellular senescence and 2) to modify the structure of the skin in a manner that promotes its elasticity.

Sphingomonas hydrophobicum extracts are marketed today by GREENTECH under the brand name HEBELYS ® and have been designed for incorporation into anti-ageing, anti-wrinkle and moisturizing skin care products.


[1] Miazek, K., Lebecque, S., Hamaidia, M., Paul, A., Danthine, S., Willems, L., Frederich, M., Pauw, E. D., Deleu, M., Richel, A., & Goffin, D. (2016). Sphingolipids: promising lipid-class molecules with potential applications for industry. A review. https://doi.org/10.25518/1780-4507.13071

[2] Gervason, S., Napoli, M., Dreux‐Zhiga, A., Lazzarelli, C., Garcier, S., Briand, Alexandre., Albouy, M., Thepot, A., Berthon, J., & Filaire, E. E. (2019). Attenuation of negative effects of senescence in human skin using an extract from Shingomonas hydrophobicum  : development of new skin care solution. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. https://doi.org/10.1111/ics.12534