Ultraviolet-absorbing scytonemin and mycosporine-like amino acid derivatives in exposed, rock-inhabiting cyanobacterial lichens

B. Büdel, U. Karsten, F. Garcia-Pichel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

96 Scopus citations


The occurrence of ultraviolet (UV)-absorbing substances like scytonemin and mycosporine-glycine is reported for the first time from cyanobacterial lichens of the genera Collema, Gonohymenia and Peltula, all coming from high-light-intensity habitats. Except for Collema with the filamentous Nostoc, all other cyanobionts belong to the unicellular genera Chroococcidiopsis, Cyanosarcina, Gloeocapsa or Myxosarcina. From transmission electron microscope studies it is evident that the pigmentation (scytonemin) is located extracellularly in the sheath of the outer thallus parts. Fluorescence microscopy and microprobe measurements clearly show UV radiation into the lichen thallus and hence the relevance of UV sunscreens for the protection of the organism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-172
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 1997
Externally publishedYes



  • Cyanobacterial lichens
  • Mycosporine-glycine
  • Scytonemin
  • Sunscreens
  • Ultraviolet light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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