A natural compound produced by coral may prove useful in the development of a pill-form type of sunscreen.
Researchers from King's College London identified the compound in shallow water corals, which they produce to protect themselves from UV rays. They also discovered that fish who eat the coral showed evidence of benefit from the 'sunscreen', which indicates that it moves up the food chain.
The team is now working on a synthetic version of the compound, which could be distributed in tablet form. The sunscreen may also be used to produce UV tolerant crops, which could withstand bright, sustained sunlight in harsh tropical environments.