Fishy sunscreen

July 28, 2015

Centre Director, Professor Vincent Bulone is leading research into an all new natural sunscreen made from fish slime, algae and crustacean shells, as reported in the American Chemical Society’s Applied Materials & Interfaces Journal.

The paper, titled “Exploiting Mycosporines as Natural Molecular Sunscreens for the Fabrication of UV-Absorbing Green Materials”, discusses how the researchers combined the protective sunscreen compounds from fish, algae and microorganisms, called mycosporines with chitosan, an organic material from crustacean shells.

“In our work, we have exploited the very same type of mycosporines produced in many fish species of the Great Barrier Reef to protect their eyes and tissues from the different types of UV light, UVA and UVB” says Professor Bulone.

“Our tests show that this novel sunscreen has superior quality to existing options by providing increased protection against both UVA and UVB radiation and is stable in variable heat and light conditions.”

Director since early 2015, Professor Bulone led this international research effort from his time at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). He is an expert in the carbohydrate biosynthetic pathways and biosynthesis of plant, fungal and oomycete cell wall polysaccharides. He maintains an important involvement with KTH as world-leaders in biomimetic work with relevance to food sustainability, bioenergy, biomaterials, biorefinery, anti-fungal and anti-oomycete inhibitors and herbicides.

With his ongoing, but reduced involvement at KTH, Professor Bulone brings expertise in the metabolic engineering of plant and microbial polysaccharide biosynthetic pathways into the current Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls and he has been developing new collaborations in Australia into various aspects of plant development and plant resistance to fungal pathogens. He can be contacted via his Personal Assistant, Emma Drew on (08) 8313 1284 or

One of the transparent, UV-protective films made during the research

One of the transparent, UV-protective films made during the research

CEN article
New Scientist
The Courier Mail
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Lead