Allantoin is not only a derivative of urea, but also a compound of urea. The crystal of allantoin is showed below. It is an important fine chemical product and urea deep-processing product. It is widely used in medicine, agriculture and light chemical fields. Allantoin was first found in the allantoic fluid of cattle，and hence get its name.It is reported that allantoin is widely distributed in nature by researches, such as allantoin in bovine allantoic fluid, fetal urine and allantoic fluid of all mammals except humans and apes. Allantoin is also found in some plants, such as tobacco seed, wheat seed, sugar beet, medicinal Achyranthes, wisteria, and Daisy roots in arnebiaceae. Its application researchs, especially in the field of biological hormone, have made a breakthrough already. The following will introduce the application of allantoin from medicine, light chemical industry and agriculture.
In medicine, allantoin is called urinary hydantoin. The pathological observation of the urea part of allantoin on the skin shows that the main effect is the degeneration of the cuticle, the regional swelling and thickening of the cuticle, the edema and cracks in the epidermal spine cells, and the mild degeneration of the dermal collagen fiber, which indicates that it has the function of dissolving and denaturing the cuticle and increasing the skin moisture. The ability of cuticle to absorb water mainly depends on the electron dense matrix of non keratin which connects keratinocytes, while keratin itself has little effect on the whole skin humidity. Allantoin moisturizes the skin because it can increase and promote the hydration capacity of the bonding matrix. It can also act on keratin to increase its water binding capacity and make the skin smooth, moist and flexible. It was found by paper layer analysis experiments that allantoin and aluminum hydroxyallantoic acid aluminum chloride could relax normal and pathological cuticle, release soluble non keratin water and more free amino acids. The urea part of allantoin also has antifungal and antibacterial effects. It was reported that 2%, 5% and 10% urea could inhibit the growth of tinea gymnoides and epidermis flocculus in the tube, and the experiment of flat disc disk method found that the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be inhibited by the paper containing 10% allantoin. The hydantoin part of allantoin is similar to barbiturate acid, which has analgesic, anesthetic and anti stimulant effects. Because of its neutralization and detoxification of irritants, it is considered to have anti irritant and anesthetic effects.
Allantoin is also a derivative of uric acid. Experimental and clinical studies have shown that allantoin has the functions of keratiolysis, hydration, anesthesia and analgesia, anti stimulation, promotion of epithelial growth, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. In 1937, Kaplan used allantoin in the treatment of surgical chronic ulcer. It was found that the effect was significant in necrotic tissue, promoting the growth of granulation tissue and wound healing. In 1962, Cahen and his colleagues first used allantoin hydroxyl aluminum salt to treat gastric ulcer in experimental animals, and achieved remarkable curative effect. Then, there were many reports in Europe and America, especially in Japan, that have been used to obtain satisfactory clinical results. In 1976, compound allantoin tablets, which were newly developed in China, were used in gastric and duodenal ulcer and had good curative effect. At present, allantoin is widely used in dermatology as an external preparation, which provides a new and effective way for the treatment of chapped hands and feet, ichthyosis, psoriasis, a variety of keratotic skin diseases, wound expansion and cleaning and peptic ulcer, Iike 2% allantoin is used to treat follicular keratosis, palmoplantar keratoderma and exfoliative keratolysis, the curative effect is better than 30% urea. In 46 cases of ichthyosis and keratoderma were treated with 1% allantoin cream and 6101 cream. The results showed that the curative effect of 1% allantoin cream was apparently better than that of 6101 cream, and 0.1% retinoic acid cream or ointment has no effect on ichthyosis. In addition, according to Japanese patent reports, allantoin is used as an important component in the treatment of diabetes, liver cirrhosis and cancer, as well as in the treatment of osteomyelitis.
In the field of daily chemicals, allantoin is a non-toxic, odorless, non irritating white crystal. It is a kind of high-quality cosmetic raw material. It can be directly used as the additive of high-grade cosmetics and other daily chemical products (such as toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.), with the functions of moistening the skin, protecting tissues, hydrophilic, absorbing water and preventing water loss. In addition, it has a protective effect on the hair, which can make the hair not bifurcate and keep hair strong. It can make the skin and lips soft, elastic and glossy. It has been widely used in foreign countries like the picture below.
Because allantoin itself is an amphoteric compound, it can combine with a variety of substances to form metal salts and addition compounds, and the chemical binding addition products formed by allantoin do not destroy the original functions of each component. For example, allantoin is combined with 5% p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), because PABA can be synthesized with stratum corneum, its effect will not be weakened by bathing and sweating. If combined with methylketone, it can also reduce the sensitization reaction of PABA. It has the function of absorbing and filtering “erythema ultraviolet” with wavelength of 2800-3200 in sunlight, is one of the most protective and widely used sunscreens in the ultraviolet range. It has a good effect on preventing skin cancer caused by ultraviolet rays. Allantoin derivatives can be prepared into various lotions, powders, aqueous solutions and tinctures, which are very popular. For example, alpolygal powder (allantoin polygalacturonate 0.2, perfume powder 1.0, precipitated magnesium silicate 5.0, magnesium carbonate 5.0, talcum powder 38.0), has the functions of detoxification, smooth skin, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and so on. Shampoo (allantoin protein 2.0, substituted imidazolium urea 0.5, dodecyl ammonium sulfate with amide component 25.0, ammonium chloride 2.0, appropriate amount of perfume and water) can resist irritation, reduce scalp scales, and make hair soft and moist. For example, alcloxa, namely aluminum chloride hydroxy allantoic acid, can be made into 0.2% to 0.5% tincture, and can be made into scent, scrub, wash, deodorant and cleaning lotion. Up to now, there are no reports of skin irritation, photosensitivity, allergic reaction and other side effects of allantoin and its derivatives at home and abroad, which means it is External use safety. As an important component of beauty cosmetics, it is gained more and more attention and has broad prospects.
In agriculture, allantoin is a kind of plant growth regulator, which can increase the yield of wheat, citrus, rice, vegetable and soybean, and has the function of fruit fixation and ripening. At the same time, it is an essential raw material for the development of various compound fertilizers, micro fertilizers, slow-release fertilizers and rare earth fertilizers. For example, according to the relevant information, the growth process of soybean can be subdivided into two periods: nutritional growth and reproductive growth. The so-called nutritional growth refers to the absorption of nitrogen from ordinary nitrogen fertilizer to promote the growth of stems and leaves; the so-called reproductive growth refers to the reduction of nitrogen in the air by the nitrogen fixation system of nodule to supply crops in the form of ordinary nitrogen, so as to promote flowering and pod setting, so as to obtain high yield. However, when the reduced nitrogen was in excess, soybean produced an organic nitrogen compound called allantoin in order to store reducing nitrogen effectively. Allantoin is rarely used in the period of flourishing stem and leaf, but transferred to soybean pod which needs a lot of nitrogen, and decomposes and uses it here to form protein in soybean seed effectively. Although allantoin plays a decisive role in the increase of soybean yield, the content of allantoin in crops is very small. It is impossible to artificially control the concentration of allantoin produced by crops. Therefore, it is necessary to spray allantoin from flowering stage to maturity stage to meet the needs of soybean reproductive growth and play the role of reproductive growth hormone, so as to achieve the purpose of soybean yield increase. China is a big agricultural country, the total output of crops reached tens of billion kilograms. If we can increase the production of crops, it will become a considerable number and has great significance to industrial and agricultural production, people’s livelihood and foreign trade.
In recent years, with the rapid development of medicine, agriculture, light chemical industry and other industries, the demand for allantoin is increasing day by day. In the application research of allantoin, especially in the field of biological hormone, breakthrough progress has been made by researchers, which makes allantoin have a broader application space.
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