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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2015 Aug 5;7(30):16558-64. doi: 10.1021/acsami.5b04064. Epub 2015 Jul 24.

Exploiting Mycosporines as Natural Molecular Sunscreens for the Fabrication of UV-Absorbing Green Materials.

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†Division of Glycoscience, School Biotechnology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), AlbaNova University Center, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
‡Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Polytechnic School, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Plaza Europa 1, 20018 Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain.
§Department of Cellular Biology and Histology, Faculty of Medicine and Odontology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), B. Sarriena, 48940 Leioa, Spain.
∥ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, Australia.


Ultraviolet radiations have many detrimental effects in living organisms that challenge the stability and function of cellular structures. UV exposure also alters the properties and durability of materials and affects their lifetime. It is becoming increasingly important to develop new biocompatible and environmentally friendly materials to address these issues. Inspired by the strategy developed by fish, algae, and microorganisms exposed to UV radiations in confined ecosystems, we have constructed novel UV-protective materials that exclusively consist of natural compounds. Chitosan was chosen as the matrix for grafting mycosporines and mycosporine-like amino acids as the functional components of the active materials. Here, we show that these materials are biocompatible, photoresistant, and thermoresistant, and exhibit a highly efficient absorption of both UV-A and UV-B radiations. Thus, they have the potential to provide an efficient protection against both types of UV radiations and overcome several shortfalls of the current UV-protective products. In practice, the same concept can be applied to other biopolymers than chitosan and used to produce multifunctional materials. Therefore, it has a great potential to be exploited in a broad range of applications in living organisms and nonliving systems.


biocompatibility; chitosan; mycosporine; natural sunscreen; ultraviolet-absorbing material

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