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  • Strategy

Fungus provides UV protection: lichens


Lichens in the sunshine / Torrey Ritte.. / LicenseCC-by-nc - Attribution Non-commercial

The algal element of lichens is protected from UV radiation by a fungal skin.

"Others [lichens] develop minuscule branches and grow into dense curling thickets a few inches high. Their outer skin is formed by the compacted threads of the fungi and is sufficiently impermeable to prevent the loss of water from the partnership; beneath are the algal cells, kept moist and protected from harmful ultra-violet radiation by the fungal skin; and below them, in the centre of the structure, there is looser tissue, also provided by the fungus, where food and water is stored." (Attenborough 1995:216)
About the inspiring organism
Med_lichen_in_sun_smaller Fungi

Learn more at
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Tents and other textiles that resist UV degradation, biological sunscreens, protective coatings for airplanes, building materials, etc.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Textiles, cosmetics, materials science

Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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