The story in a nutshell: cashew nuts are a popular cocktail snack lauded for their nutritional benefits including good fats and high levels of protein. It now seems they have an added health benefit with the potential to create a new value chain: their shells can be used for sunscreen, according to scientists from Wits and other institutions.
Cashew nuts go great with a cold beer or G&T on a hot day. And if you are sitting in the sun while imbibing, you might find some use from their shells as well.
Chemists from the University of the Witwatersrand, in collaboration with scientists from Germany, Malawi and Tanzania, have produced aromatic compounds from cashew nut shells with good UVA and UVB absorbance, which can be applied to humans, livestock and industrial coatings for protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. Their findings were recently published in the European Journal of Organic Chemistry.
The research comes against the backdrop of growing concerns among regulators about the petrochemical base of many UV protection agents and the potential environmental consequences that stem from their poor biodegradability.
"With the current concerns over the use of fossil resources... and the effect of current UV absorbers...