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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Synthesis of (cinnamate-zinc layered hydroxide) intercalation compound for sunscreen application

Sumaiyah Megat Nabil Mohsin1, Mohd Zobir Hussein1*, Siti Halimah Sarijo2, Sharida Fakurazi34, Palanisamy Arulselvan4 and Taufiq-Yap Yun Hin5

Author Affiliations

1 Material Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory, Institute of Advanced Technology (ITMA), Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

2 Faculty of Applied Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 UiTM, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

3 Department of Human Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

4 Laboratory of Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, Institute of Bioscience, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

5 Centre of Excellence for Catalysis Science and Technology, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

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Chemistry Central Journal 2013, 7:26  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-26

Published: 6 February 2013



Zinc layered hydroxide (ZLH) intercalated with cinnamate, an anionic form of cinnamic acid (CA), an efficient UVA and UVB absorber, have been synthesized by direct method using zinc oxide (ZnO) and cinnamic acid as the precursor.


The resulting obtained intercalation compound, ZCA, showed a basal spacing of 23.9 Å as a result of cinnamate intercalated in a bilayer arrangement between the interlayer spaces of ZLH with estimated percentage loading of cinnamate of about 40.4 % w/w. The UV–vis absorption spectrum of the intercalation compound showed excellent UVA and UVB absorption ability. Retention of cinnamate in ZLH interlayers was tested against media usually came across with sunscreen usage to show low release over an extended period of time. MTT assay of the intercalation compound on human dermal fibroblast (HDF) cells showed cytotoxicity of ZCA to be concentration dependent and is overall less toxic than its precursor, ZnO.


(Cinnamate-zinc layered hydroxide) intercalation compound is suitable to be used as a safe and effective sunscreen with long UV protection effect.

Sunscreen; Zinc layered hydroxide; Zinc oxide; Optical properties; Cytotoxicity

Graphical abstract