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Guy German and colleagues have developed a sunscreen from salmon sperm. Photo: Binghampton
Guy German and colleagues have developed a sunscreen from salmon sperm. Photo: Binghampton

Scientists at an American university have developed a coating made out of salmon DNA that gets better at protecting skin from ultraviolet light the more you expose it to the sun, and also keeps your skin hydrated.

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The film was made from a mixture of the DNA from salmon sperm, water and ethanol to create sheets of a transparent crystalline material.

DNA from salmon sperm is the key ingredient of the new sunscreen film. Photo: Binghampton
DNA from salmon sperm is the key ingredient of the new sunscreen film. Photo: Binghampton

Researchers at Binghamton University, New York, led by Guy German, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, explained that as an added bonus, the DNA coatings are also hygroscopic, meaning that skin coated with the DNA films can store and hold water much more than uncoated skin.

When applied to human skin, the films are able to slow water evaporation and keep the tissue hydrated for extended periods of time.

Wound covering

German now intends to see if the salmon-sperm films might be good as a wound covering.

"Not only do we think this might have applications for sunscreen and moisturisers directly, but if it’s optically transparent and prevents tissue damage from the sun and it’s good at keeping the skin hydrated, we think this might be potentially exploitable as a wound covering for extreme environments," he said.

The research paper, Non-ionising UV light increases the optical density of hygroscopic self assembled DNA crystal films, was published in Scientific Reports.

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