The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and an Australian company, Sunscreen Technologies Pvt Ltd (STPL), have reached agreement to develop the coral sunscreen, which is likely to hit the market in the near future.
Corals have developed natural sunscreens to cope with long-term exposure to the high-intensity ultraviolet radiation penetrating shallow reef waters and, in the 1980s, AIMS discovered a natural ultra-violet (UV) blocking compound in reef corals.
"We believe that within a very few years the coral sunscreen could displace the range of UV-B blockers now in use. The future market in global terms for the new compound and its formulations is estimated at several hundred million dollars each year", said AIMS executive Dr Peter Isdale.
The sunscreen, code-named 855, is structurally unlike compounds in current use. It has an It has demonstrated great efficiency in absorbing and dissipating UV radiation in the damaging UV-B region of the spectrum.All the completed tests indicate that the new sunscreen is not irritating to use as it has low allergenic activity.
Sunscreen 855 is a fully protected invention, following a lengthy patenting process. After 10 years of development, the final international patent was issued only last January.