Euclides da Cunha defined Amazonia as “the biggest stage ever set by nature where man arrived too soon”. Perhaps the Amazonians are victims of their own anticipation and greatness. It would be redundant to mention how immense the Amazonian challenges are, the valorization of its products and consequently its biomass is one of them.
Ricardo Borges, in 1941, prefacing the work of Celestino Pesce *, “Oleaginous of the Amazon”, quotes Paul Le Coint **: “The methodical exploration of the plants would be enough to give back to the country the prosperity it had known in the golden age of rubber”. At that time, Borges already extolled the Instituto Agronômico do Norte (Agronomic Institute of the North), which, according to him, with research would end the miserable condition of exporters of raw materials at minimal prices, allowing the production of refined oils and fine chemicals, in addition to a breeding stock of species for genetic improvement. From then until today we ask, what benefits for the oils and fats industry did that Institute, now extinct, and other research centers give us?
Today there are refineries and genetic improvement for the palm and soybean cultures, complete industrialization plants, imported projects in part or as a whole. And for the Amazonian crops?
An example to be followed in Brazil is that of Petrobras, which generated technology and knowledge, discovered the pre-salt and received 10 billion dollars from China even before starting large-scale production. We do not commensurate with how many “pre-salt oleagins” we are failing to take advantage of or destroying in the Amazon before even knowing them.
* Celestino Pesce (1869-1942), Italian industrial chemist, acquired in 1913 the Fábrica Industrial Cametaense, and published in 1941 the book Oleaginous of the Amazon” that presents an extensive list with the oil characteristics of more than 100 Amazonian species.
** Paul Le Cointe (1870 – ?) French naturalist, was the first director of the “School of Industrial Chemistry” in Pará, created in 1920.
THE OLEAGINOUS INDUSTRIES – A BRIEF HISTORY
It is acceptable that there are two moments in the history of Amazon oilseeds in the last three decades: before Brasmazon and after Brasmazon *. Before Brasmazon the market was informal and marginal, with production done in an artisanal way, without technical criteria, mostly mixed with all kinds of adulterants, from soy oil to diesel oil, as in the case of copaíba, and sold in open markets.
With Brasmazon the market began to realize the importance of quality and continuity in the supply of Amazonian oils. Before, the market could not even get 10 tons of andiroba oil at once. When the market demanded a considerable quantity, the price would skyrocket and the client would give up, due to the price and the lack of product standard. After Brasmazon, cosmetic lines based on Amazonian products began to appear. This way, Brazil began to talk about products such as andiroba, copaiba, Brazil nut, which was considered an initial milestone for the use of these products, mainly because they come from the largest tropical forest in the world, where the ignorance of its biodiversity is still a reality.
Raised in the suburbs of Belém and a descendant of the most typical caboclo expression of the Amazon, Luiz Morais, graduated in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from UFPA (Federal University of Pará), where he also specialized in the Chemistry of oils and fats. The research done by the Department of Chemistry and Natural Products Research at UFPA, where he started working, provided technical support for this project, since the traditional knowledge passed on by his grandmother and his mother had been investigated since adolescence, which led him to follow the path of a chemist. In 1995, he started his first company in Amapá, to give credibility to the project, Morais continued the field survey of specimens with extractive potential and interesting actives, this survey took two years. The creation of the company in Amapá offers the market products of forest origin with quality, quantity and continuity proposal, never seen in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical market.
The company prospers and moves to Ananindeua (PA) and in 2002 is negotiated with a business group from São Paulo called BERACA. In 2003 Amazon Velas was founded, Morais then became a consultant for BERACA.
In 2009 a new company called AmazonOil was born with a new partner, Dr. Ekkehard Gutjahr, a German-Brazilian who worked in the Amazon Rainforest for the German Development Service and as a consultant in agroforestry projects for over 15 years. Since then AmazonOil has gained international prominence and has focused on special products and fine chemicals from the Amazon, meeting the demands of the international market.