New Delhi: Scientists world over have established that marine fungi is an effective and safe way to improve various skin-related issues.
Marine fungi are slowly and steadily becoming popular for their health benefits, their use in agriculture and most recently in the field of cosmeceuticals. Coined by Abbert Kligman in 1984, the term ‘cosmeceutical’ was derived from ‘cosmetic’ and ‘pharmaceutical’. Like cosmetics they are applied on the skin but they contain ingredients that influence the biological function of the skin.
Besides improving appearances, cosmeceuticals also deliver nutrients necessary for healthy skin. Of the 270,000 known natural products, 30,000 have been obtained from marine life. Out of these, 9 are approved as medical drugs and 13 are undergoing clinical trials. An important example is the discovery of an antibiotic, cephalosporin C, which was derived from a marine fungi Cephalosporium sp. in 2011.
“Improvements in our understanding of fungal physiology is necessary to successfully identify new substances from marine fungi for cosmeceuticals,” said Dr Sunil Deshmukh, from the TERI-Deakin Nano Biotechnology Centre, New Delhi, whose team has compiled data from various sources on benefits of marine life.
Several fungi-based products are already available in market – sun care products using Sea fennel, anti-cellulite skin care products using guam seaweed, and anti-ageing products based on sea algae which is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Scientists have also isolated a substance that is more active than kojic acid (used in various skin whitening products) from a fungus.
Recently, two substances were extracted from marine fungus, Trichoderma sp. which showed antibiotic activity against one type of acne- causing bacteria S. epidermidis. This is significant as patients are becoming resistant to currently available anti-acne antibiotics. Therefore, there is a need to discover new bioactive substances which could fight off the bacteria causing acne which affects a large number of people.