For the past 105 years, candelilla wax has been extracted using a harsh sulfuric acid.
Monterrey, Nuevo León (PRWEB) October 17, 2013
Multiceras, S.A. de C.V., a Mexican wax production and distribution company, has developed a groundbreaking process to extract wax from the leaves of the Candelilla plant using citric acid instead of sulfuric acid.
“For the past 105 years, candelilla wax has been extracted using a harsh sulfuric acid,” says Multiceras president Raul Marmolejo. “But with our commitment to social responsibility and the market demand for more natural and environmentally friendly products, we tasked ourselves with coming up with a process to extract the wax using a very mild form of citric acid that is less stressful on the environment, safer for the candelilleros who harvest the wax, and that produces a purer wax.”
Candelilla wax is obtained from the wild Candelilla plant, which grows in the Chihuahuan desert in the north of Mexico and south of Texas. In order to protect itself from adverse weather conditions and to help retain water, the plant exudes a grayish powder to cover its surface, mostly comprised of wax. The wax is traditionally obtained in the field by boiling the leaves and stems with dilute sulfuric acid, and the resulting "cerote" is skimmed from the surface and further processed.
Mr. Marmolejo says that the candelilleros in Mina, Nuevo Leon near Monterrey, Mexico, whom Multiceras has trained in the new process, have produced four metric tons of candelilla wax since its introduction in August 2013. He says that although initially skeptical of the new extraction method, they were surprised that after more than a century the process could be improved.
Due to the isolated location of the communities and the extreme weather conditions in Mexico’s Chihuahuan desert, there are limited job opportunities, and candelilla wax collection represents the main source of income for the rural producer.
“Multiceras sees the candelillero community as one of our key stakeholders,” says Mr. Marmolejo. “We collaborate with natural regeneration and reforestation programs to ensure the viability of the bio-stock of the candelilla plant, and continually look for ways to improve safety conditions. The use of citric acid in a powdered form is so safe that women in the fields also have a chance to participate in the production process.”
Candelilla wax is a 100% natural substance, and is hard, stable, protective, plastic, and easily moldable. Its distinctive properties make it an essential ingredient for the manufacturing of cosmetics, gum base, inks, dyes, adhesives, coatings, emulsions, polishes, and pharmaceutical products.
“The improved raw materials resulting from this process innovation open a wide range of opportunities for developing new products and applications and may also result in increasing performance of current applications,” says Mr. Marmolejo.
Multiceras, S.A. de C.V. is a Mexican company specialized in the design, fabrication, and commercialization of natural, synthetic, and petroleum waxes and related products for industrial applications. Its corporate offices are located in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. The company has sales offices in Mexico City, and a global sales and distribution team.
Since 1978 Multiceras has offered high-quality products and innovative solutions to the global wax market.
In 2012 Multiceras formalized its commitment to sustainability with the establishment of a Social Responsibility Program. It was awarded the Social Responsible Enterprise Accolade by CEMEFI (Mexican Philanthropy Center) and joined the UN Global Compact that year as well.