Researchers from Kings College in London have isolated a compound that they believe shields coral from ultraviolet rays, prompting speculation that coral eventually help yield a generation of sunscreen for humans. In a symbiotic relationship with the endangered Acropora coral, certains kinds of algae release a compound as a defense against sun exposure. Fish that feed on the coral receive sun-protection benefits as well, which has led Dr. Paul Long and a group of collaborators to hypothosize that the same effect could be seen in humans. If sythesizing the compound in a lab is successful, Long estimates that a pill could be produced within five years. "We couldn't and wouldn't want to use the coral itself as it is an endangered species,” he said. The pill could have benefits for the coral as well; coral reefs are often damaged by sunscreen that washes off of swimmers.
Read more at the BBC
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.