Scientists Produced Sunscreen from Agricultural Waste

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Scientists continue to develop products in different ways to use resources more efficiently. Scientists from CIAB managed to obtain sunscreen from the agricultural waste-based lignin.

Scientists from the Indian-based research institute’s Innovative and Applied Bioprocess Center (CIAB) have managed to develop an antimicrobial sunscreen from lignin, which is considered a waste product in agriculture.

Lignin is a natural biopolymer rich in polyphenolic groups, making it an ideal candidate for industrial applications. The lignin obtained from wheat and rice husk is used as a by-product in the paper and pulp industry. Lignin is burned at the end of the harvest in the agricultural regions.

Scientists at CIAB have discovered that the water-ethanol composition of lignin offers an easy synthesis of zinc oxide nanocomposites. The composition is considered environmentally friendly as it is understood that the synthesis discovered does not contain any toxic solvents or catalysts.

Lignin-based nano composites have a commercial value due to their ultraviolet rays protection, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Zinc oxide nanoparticles were synthesized using Kraft and alkaline lignin. Only zinc oxide precursor salt and lignin were used for nanocomposite synthesis.

In the synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles, harsh techniques such as toxic chemicals and high temperatures are often used. However, scientists at CIAB have used sustainable industrial methods to obtain nanoparticles of zinc oxide.

Scientists have used lignin to convert zinc oxide into a nano composite with UV protective and antimicrobial properties in one step thanks to this method. In the tests performed, it was understood that nano composites showed a wide antimicrobial activity.

Derivatives of lignin showed protection against ultraviolet light as an additive in commonly used body creams. Scientists are now exploring where else they can use lignin industrially.