Fungal melanin as a biocompatible broad-spectrum sunscreen with high antioxidant activity

Jeong Joo Oh, Jee Young Kim, Seung Han Son, Won Jo Jung, Da Hee Kim, Jin Woo Seo, Gyu Hyeok Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Melanin is considered a bio-inspired dermo-cosmetic component due to its high UV absorption and antioxidant activity. Among various melanin sources, fungal melanin is a promising candidate for sunscreen because of its sustainability and scalability; however, quantitative assessment of its function has not yet been sufficiently explored. In this study, melanin samples derived fromAmorphotheca resinaewere prepared, followed by the evaluation of their sunscreen performance, antioxidant activity, and cytotoxicity. Melanin-blended cream was prepared by blending a melanin suspension and a pure cream. The cream showed anin vitrosun protection factor value of 2.5 when the pigment content was 5%. The cream showed a critical wavelength of approximately 388 nm and a UVA/UVB ratio of more than 0.81, satisfying the broad-spectrum sunscreen requirement. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity assays indicated that fungal melanin had antioxidant activity similar to ascorbic acid but higher than reduced glutathione. Fungal melanin had no statistically significant cytotoxicity to human keratinocyte cell lines until 72 h of exposure, even at a concentration of 4 mg mL−1. Consequently, melanin pigment can be used as a biocompatible broad-spectrum sunscreen with high antioxidant activity and as a practical alternative in dermo-cosmetic formulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19682-19689
Number of pages8
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a Korea University Research Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2021.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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