Biotechnological exploitation of cyanobacterial photoprotective metabolites

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Mishra, Sonal, Richa, Sinha, Rajeshwar P.

Review Articles | Published: 16 February, 2022

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
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Doi: 10.1007/s42535-022-00347-w
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Keywords: Cyanobacteria, Mycosporine-like amino acids, Scytonemin, Carotenoids, Sunscreens, Biotechnological activity


Cyanobacteria have received much attention in recent years due to their promising applications in the field of biotechnology and pharmaceutics. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has detrimental effects on the skin which has led to the commercial success of synthetic UV filters to diminish the deleterious effects of harmful highly energetic radiations. Cyanobacterial photoprotective metabolites (CPMs) such as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), scytonemin and carotenoids increases skin s ability to retain water and because of this they are used in sunscreen products. Present day UV filters and synthetic moisturizing chemicals may also have disadvantageous effects on the skin. To overcome the devastating effects of UVR, CPMs are considered as natural photoprotectants and an alternative to the present day contrived UV filters. MAAs are considered to be a potential source of innovative bioactive metabolites that are highly fascinating from a biotechnological perspective showing multifarious biotechnological activities ranging from photoprotection to antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiaging, immunomodulatory and visual venture. This review focuses on the gene cluster, biosynthetic pathway, protection against various stress and biotechnological exploitation of certain CPMs. These true multifunctional secondary metabolites have various important biotechnological applications and thus an attractive area for future research.

Cyanobacteria, Mycosporine-like amino acids, Scytonemin, Carotenoids, Sunscreens, Biotechnological activity


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S.M. is thankful to University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi, India, for the financial assistance in the form of fellowship as Junior Research Fellow (Joint CSIR-UGC JRF-2019/NTA Ref. No.: 191620046790).

Author Information

Mishra, Sonal
Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Sinha, Rajeshwar P.
Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India