Natural waxes are synthesised biochemically by numerous plants and animals. Especially in warm climates, plants secrete waxes as a way to control evaporation and hydration, essentially to protect against dehydration. But most fruits are also covered with a thin wax layer protecting them from environmental influences, and against pest infestation and microbial attack. Obtaining this wax is difficult, depending on the source. Usually the fruits or leaves are dried and then boiled out in water. The crude wax is skimmed off the water surface. Subsequently, in several steps, impurities like suspended particles and peroxides are physically removed.
Waxes of natural origin mainly consist of complex mixtures of esters of fatty acids and long chain alcohols, and free forms of these molecules. Those of plant origin additionally contain characteristic mixtures of un-esterified hydrocarbons.
The chemical composition depends not only on the species, but also on geographic location of the organism. Even though all waxes belong to the same chemical class their composition does vary broadly leading to very different properties.