Kiwis are used to getting hoki in their fish 'n' chips - but now a Kiwi tech company is using its skin as an agent for burns and wrinkles.
West Auckland's Revolution Fibres is tomorrow launching actiVLayr: a natural skincare product that uses collagen extracted from hoki skins as a base ingredient.
The skins are then combined with elements such as fruit extracts and hyaluronic acid to make a sustainably-sourced product, which independent testing has shown could reduce wrinkles by a third.
With expertise from Nelson-based Plant and Food Research scientists, fishing company Sanford turned its hoki skins into pure collagen, which was then transformed by Revolution Fibres into nanofibre using a Kiwi-pioneered technique called electro-spinning.
During this process, natural ingredients known as bioactives - such as kiwifruit and grapes - and hyaluronic acid, an ingredient to help the skin retain moisture, were bonded to the nanofibres to create sheets of actiVLayr.
When it was exposed to wet skin, the nanofibres dissolved rapidly and released the bioactives deep into the skin.
"The way actiVLayr is produced, and the unique application method of placing it onto wet skin like a mask, means ingredients are absorbed quickly and efficiently into the skin to maximise the repair and protection of the skin," Revolution Fibres chief executive Iain Hosie said.
"There are endless uses for actiVLayr and the one we're most proud of is in the medical area with the ability for drug compounds or medicines to be added to the actiVLayr formula.
"It will enable a controlled dose to be delivered to a patient with skin lesions, burns or acne."
Hosie said the beauty of the product was that it recycled material from the fishing industry which would previously have been turned into pet food or fish meal.'
The product was being launched this week at the China Beauty Fair in Shanghai, and also presented here as part of Techweek.
Revolution Fibres was tripling production to meet orders for actiVLayr in China, and the increased demand for nanofibre products from a diverse range of sectors, including Formula One racing teams and the aerospace industry.
Nanofibres are textiles made from super-fine fibres between 100 to 500 nanometres in width - by comparison, a human hair is 50,000 nanometres wide.
Just a kilogram of hoki skin was enough to produce 400 sq metres of nanofibre material.
These small fibres could create vast changes in mechanical strength, reactivity, and conductivity, among many other properties.
"We've had to ramp up production to ensure we can supply a wide range of new clients and opportunities," Hosie said.
"There is now a steady stream of industries embracing what nanofibre for performance and competitive edge, and that will only increase as research uncovers even greater opportunities in life sciences.
"The potential for nanofibre is limitless."
The company has already used nanofibres to create filters for HRV Next Generation ventilation systems, the anti-allergy pillow liner Nanodream, and high-performance carbon fibre reinforcement products.