Super sunscreen from fjord bacteria
A microorganism living in Trondheim Fjord will provide you with better protection against skin cancer and malignant melanomas.
Aug. 6, 2013 — A microorganism living in Trondheim Fjord will provide you with better protection against skin cancer and malignant melanomas.Norwegian researchers have recently discovered a microorganism with very special properties — a bacteria living in Trondheim Fjord with the Latin name Micrococcus luteus. It possesses a trait which is rare and highly sought-after by medical science and the cosmetics industry — a pigment which can absorb long-wavelength UV radiation (in the range 350-475 nanometres).Links with cancerLong-wavelength UV radiation is linked to many forms of skin cancer and malignant melanomas. Currently, there are no sunscreens on the market able to filter out this type of radiation.However, the Norwegian company Promar AS has taken out patents for both the manufacture and use in future sunscreens of a light-filtering substance extracted from this bacterium. This has been achieved with the help of researchers at SINTEF.At SINTEF, researchers have been working with what is known as bioprospecting for many years. This branch of science involves the exploration for organisms in the natural environment possessing traits useful in industrial applications, as fatty acids, antibiotics, enzymes and suchlike.A bacterial library in the labThe backdrop to this project involved activities taking place at SINTEF and NTNU by which we collected a variety of different microorganisms from the water surface in Trondheim Fjord. These organisms had one thing in common. They possessed a variety of naturally-occurring light-absorbing pigments. “This is why they are very colourful,” says Trygve Brautaset, Project and Research Manager at SINTEF. The end result was an entire “library” of such microorganisms.At about the same time, the Norwegian company Promar AS had been working on the idea of manufacturing a substance with a property lacking in sunscreen products currently on the market — the ability to filter out long-wavelength UV radiation.This is why SINTEF and NTNU were contracted to look for a pigment with this trait. …
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