Organic nanoparticles secreted by English ivy rootlets absorb and scatter ultraviolet light thanks to large surface-to-volume ratio and uniformity.
"The concern for the biosafety and health risk for the metal-based and engineered nanoparticles in sunscreens has led to the search for alternative replacement nanoparticles. In this study, naturally occurring ivy nanoparticles were investigated to replace TiO2 and ZnO that are currently widely used in sunscreen products. Based on experimental data, we have demonstrated that ivy nanoparticles have the potential levels of UV protection necessary to warrant further investigation for uses in cosmetics. The cell toxicity of ivy nanoparticles was next tested and it was determined that ivy nanoparticles exhibited much less toxicity than widely used TiO2 nanoparticles. Without obtaining the proper marker for experimental determination, a mathematical model was used to analyze the diffusion dynamics in the human skin, especially in the SC layer. Through this analysis, we found ivy nanoparticles with a diameter of 65.3 nm will not reach the bottom of SC layer in normal conditions for short periods of time after application. The biodegradability of these ivy nanoparticles further eliminates concerns regarding environmental contamination and in the case of entry into the body. All of the above studies demonstrated that naturally occurring ivy nanoparticles could be a promising alternative for UV protection in cosmetics, especially with concerns regarding the safety of metal-based nanoparticles. With increased dangers associated with more UV passing through the atmosphere , the need to protect human from skin cancer elicits the need for safe and effective UV protective agents. The promising application of these ivy nanoparticles thus provides a better chance to help protect people from UV radiation." (Xia et al. 2010)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Xia L; Lenaghan SC; Zhang M; Zhang Z; Li Q. 2010. Naturally occurring nanoparticles from English ivy: an alternative to metal-based nanoparticles for UV protection. Journal of Nanobiotechnology. 8(12):
- 2010. UT researchers: English ivy may give sunblock a makeover. EurekAlert! [Internet],
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