Researchers from universities in Spain and Italy have uncovered photoprotective properties in a strawberry extract. The researchers work was published in "Photoprotective Potential of Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) Extract against UV-A Irradiation Damage on Human Fibroblasts," an article appearing in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry.
The collaboration, which involved the Università Politecnica delle Marche, The University of Barcelona, the University of Salamanca and the University of Granada, believe that the photoprotective capability of Fragaria × Ananassa (strawberry) is due to its polyphenol content, which is largely comprised of the flavonoid anthocyanin. These compounds are known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumor properties.
Methanolic extracts from the Sveva cultivar were analyzed for anthocyanin content. Five anthocyanin pigments were identified using high-performance liquid chromatography–diode array detection–electrospray ionization/mass spectrometry.
The team then prepared fibroblast cell cultures and added strawberry extract at 0.05, 0.25 and 0.5 mg/mL, with the exception being the control extract. The samples were then exposed to UVA radiation in a dose "equivalent to 90 minutes of midday summer sun in the French Riviera." for their ability to protect human dermal fibroblasts against UVA radiation. Those cells were assayed using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenytetrazolium bromide and Comet assays.
The strawberry extract, especially at 0.5 mg/mL, showed a photoprotective activity in fibroblasts exposed to UVA radiation. It also increased cellular viability and diminished DNA damage, as compared to control cells.
The researchers have not established the relationship between the presence of anthocyanins and photoprotective properties; however, they find that their research would lead to photoprotective creams made from strawberries. The team plans to evaluate whether the anthocyanins in strawberries better protect the skin from UVA radiation when formulated into a skin cream or when consumed.