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Design and fabrication of ultraviolet (UV) protective materials inspired by nature (ULTRAPROMAT)
Start date: 01 Nov 2014, End date: 31 Oct 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The UV component of sunlight is an environmental deleterious factor to human health. It also impacts the lifetime of materials by affecting their properties, aesthetic appearance and durability. An important concern in society is the increased rate of UV damages due to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer and higher levels of UV-B and UV-A at the surface of Earth. The overall research objective of ULTRAPROMAT is the design and fabrication of novel materials inspired by Nature that exhibit a superior capacity to protect biological systems and materials against the negative impact of UV exposure. The UV-absorbing properties of natural substances called mycosporines and mycosporine-like amino acids will be exploited. These molecules will be grafted on green polymers (cellulose, chitosan, starch and collagen) that hold unique physico-chemical, mechanical and/or biological properties to obtain multifunctional materials with exceptional properties and applications in multiple sectors, e.g. the biomedical, cosmetic, food packaging, composite materials, textile and coating industries.The expected outputs are: 1. A series of multifunctional biomaterials that protect living systems and outdoor materials from UV damages; 2. A completely green approach avoiding chemical treatments and using enzymes and natural polymers for generating new materials; 3. A fundamental understanding of the physicochemical interactions and properties of the materials prepared through multidisciplinary approaches; 4. A map of the biological properties and compatibility of some key materials to be exploited in the biomedical area; 5. Publications in high impact journals and presentations at international meetings; 6. A platform on which the Fellow can build an internationally recognised research group in the developing area of bioinspired materials derived from renewable resources; 7. The establishment of a channel for technology transfer of innovative concepts and materials to industry."
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