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The new sunscreen pill that gives weeks of protection
Uncovering the secret of how coral shields itself against harmful ultraviolet rays could pave the way for the first sunscreen pill
The key to sun protection could lie under the sea as scientists believe understanding of the way coral shields itself against harmful ultraviolet rays could help make sunscreen pills for humans.
Researchers from King’s College London visited Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to study samples of the endangered Acropora coral and uncover the genetic and biochemical processes behind coral’s defence mechanism.
‘What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a compound that we think is transported to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae,’ says Dr Paul Long, who led the team.
‘Not only does this protect them both from UV damage, but we have seen that fish that feed on the coral also benefit from this sunscreen protection, so it is clearly passed up the food chain.’
Scientists have known for some time that coral and some algae have the ability to protect themselves from harsh UV rays in tropical climates. This could ultimately mean that in time people might be able to get inbuilt sun protection for their skin.
‘Once we recreate the compounds we can put them into a lotion and test them on skin,’ says Dr Long.
Video: Does sunscreen really works ? Why when and how to apply sunscreen by Dr abhinit gupta
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Li-Mi-Yan understands the sensitive nature of her work and welcomes discussion around it. She said when the photos were first published, some of the participants asked me to remove them. I understood all the controversies and the level of effect the project imposed only when it was published on the internet, she said. I was amused with the amount and variety of reception which my photographs received
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Final shrimp count: 73