- Project Dates: From June 2013 to November 2014
- Staff: CIs from Computing Science NCL: Dr. Jennifer Hallinan, Prof. Anil Wipat
- Sponsors: BBSRC
Solar radiation reaching the Earth consists of infrared (>800 nm), visible (PAR, 400-750 nm) and ultraviolet-A (UVA, 320-400 nm). Damage to skin through exposure to ultra violet (UV) radiation is a major societal concern and consequently there is a significant consumer demand for cosmetics formulated to block UV penetration. Materials used to block UV penetration to the skin include inorganic metal oxide particles and organic filters. Currently, organic UV-absorbing compounds are manufactured from non-renewable petrochemicals and, as a result, there is considerable commercial interest in developing organic UV-absorber compounds from renewable materials. Croda wish to develop a sustainable manufacturing process for efficient, high-level production of a natural occurring group of UV-absorbing compounds, namely Mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), for use as a sunscreen additive to skin care products. Currently, the commercial production of MAAs for use in sunscreens is not a viable proposition due to the low yield and lack of fermentation technology associated with native MAA-producing organisms. This project will overcome this limitation by expressing genes encoding known MAA biosynthetic pathway enzymes in a bacterium that is widely used in industry to produce house-hold and food products and that has an excellent track record for safety.