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Patent Pick: 'Grow Your Own' UVB Protection

Contact Author Rachel Grabenhofer
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Researchers of the Max-Planck Society set out to protect plants from damaging UV-B radiation. They began by assessing levels of various phenylpropanoids in the flowers of 72 sets of Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) ecotypes using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Interestingly, they detected unknown chemical structures, which tandem mass spectrometry (MS-MS) fragmentation identified as novel flavonol derivatives. These compounds were found to absorb radiation, protecting biological as well as non-biological materials. 

As this patent application explains, these natural compounds were used to create plants and plant compounds that exhibit enhanced UV-B absorbent properties. They also were applied in topical sunscreen formulas.

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Natural UV-B absorbing compounds
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/198485
Publication date: Dec. 15, 2016
Assignee: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Zur Förderung Der Wissenschaften E.V. (Max-Planck Society for the Advancement of Science)

The inventors on this patent application surprisingly identified novel phenylacylated flavonol-glycosides, referred to as saiginols. These display enhanced UV-B absorbent properties while not interfering with the photosynthetically active radiation range. Furthermore, the position of the phenylacyl moieties of the compounds is structurally distinct from all phenylacylated flavonols previously reported.

This invention also covers the development of a UV-B tolerant plant and method for producing these flavonols in a plant or plant cell, as well as the use of said compounds in sunscreens.

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