It is a natural product present in various fungi and is also produced as a by-product during the fermentation of some foods such as soy sauce, rice wine, and Japanese sake. It is naturally found in Aspergillus, Aspergillus terricola and Marrubium cylleneum. For example, it has been isolated from the fungus Aspergillus oryzae.
It has the ability to prevent the formation of tyrosine, an amino acid that is needed to form melanin. Melanin is a pigment that provides colour to hair, skin, eyes, etc. So, kojic acid may cause a lightening effect owing to its ability to inhibit the production of melanin.
Kojic Acid Structure
Its chemical formula is C6H6O4. Kojic acid is a pyranone wherein 4H-pyran is substituted by a hydroxy group at position 5.
Chemical properties of Kojic acid
Preparation of Kojic Acid
It can be produced chemically from pyranoid 3, 2-enolones. Whereas, biologically it can be prepared from direct fermentation of glucose using A. oryzae and A. flavus.
Indian Science and Technology and Innovation (ISIT) has introduced a method to produce and purify Kojic acid through fermentation of marine fungus Aspergillus spp and Penicillium spp. A lot of research is going on Kojic acid production owing to its economic potential in the field of food, medicine, cosmetics and agriculture. Some of the major uses of Kojic acid are as below:
Kojic Acid Uses:
Although Kojic acid is found in many products and is considered safe, there are some possible risks associated with the use of products containing kojic acid. Here are some common side effects.
The use of kojic acid increases the chances of developing a sunburn. It does not aid the formation of melanin that protects the skin from sun damage.
It may cause contact dermatitis in people who have sensitive skin.
The manufacturers may increase the kojic acid in products like creams, soaps, serums, etc. Its higher concentration may cause irritation.
So, kojic acid may be helpful for some people and may not for others. So, one should talk to a dermatologist before using products containing kojic acid.
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