Sunscreens could one day get a natural boost of sun-blocking power with the addition of a compound found in microalgae.
The microalgae were discovered at the bottom of a lake in Norway by the research institute SINTEF, who have been collecting algae from the Trondheim Fjord and making notes of the ones that absorb sunlight. One organism they found contained sarcinaxanthin, which itself contains a pigment that can absorb the longer wavelengths of UV radiation. Since current sunscreens do not absorb UV light between 320 to sunscreen to also cover these wave lengths, providing better overall protection."
The team has genetically engineered the substance to create artificially bacteria, which they will then use to grow the pigment in larger amounts. The substance will be marketed as UVAblue.