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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Chemistry

First Advisor

Marjorie A. Jones


Biowaste often becomes an environmental and ecological problem for many agricultural crops. A prime example of this would be the tons of biowaste collected from the tequila manufacturing industry every year. The purpose of this study is to determine if mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) can be isolated from the Agave tequilana as a form of upcycling the biowaste. MAAs are of interest due to their UV defensive properties, thus if isolated, MAAs could be used as more natural and environmentally friendly alternatives to currently used sunscreens. Sunscreens on the market now have some toxic chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, that end up being washed off into wastewater treatment plants, fishing ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans thus potentially harming these ecosystems. Endogenous compounds in the Agave tequilana leaves, such as enzymes (inulinases) and proteins, are also of interest due to their current market value. However, they are not the focus of this study.

It was determined that MAAs are prevalent in the leaves, based on data collected from TLC plate detection sprays, UV-Vis spectroscopy, and High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS), of Agave tequilana, with a tentative characterization of two specific MAAs, Euhalothece-362 and 4-deoxygladusol. Additionally, cell viability experiments were carried out using glial, S. islandicus, Leishmania cells which showed interesting implications in regard to MAAs photoprotective effects. These studies demonstrate that the leaves of the Agave tequilana, which are currently considered biowaste, have potential to produce economically valuable products through extractions of mycosporine-like amino acids.


Imported from ProQuest Biswell_ilstu_0092N_11795.pdf


Page Count


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