BIONEINE® is a high quality source of the natural compound L-ergothioneine, which is found throughout the living world from plants to man, including the well-known horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus), one of the oldest living animal species on Earth. L-Ergothioneine is synthesized only by bacteria and fungi and is absorbed by humans through the diet.


L-Ergothioneine is incorporated in the skin tissue, thanks to a specific organic cation transporter called OCTN1 or ETT [1,2], which is expressed by dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes [3,4]. At a sub-cellular level, L-ergothioneine is widely distributed and is present in particular in mitochondria [5]

L-Ergothioneine is highly water soluble, stable towards oxygen and has been shown to trap or disactivate strong oxidizing species, such as singlet oxygen, peroxynitrite anion and hypochlorous acid [6-11]. Moreover, L-ergothioneine chelates metals and prevents pro-oxidant effects of copper [12-14]. Consistently, the protective effects of L-ergothioneine against oxidative stress have been demonstrated in numerous studies [15-16] and its involvement in the network of antioxidant defenses has been evidenced in skin cells [3,4,17-19].


It is well documented that chronic exposure to stress factors such as UV radiations, pathogens, polluants, and age-associated mitochondrial dysfunction induce oxidative stress which results in progressive loss of cell structural and functional integrity, and then to tissue damage.




Therefore, BIONEINE®, as a source of the physiological cytoprotectant L-ergothioneine, is a particularly interesting active ingredient to be incorporated into cosmetic formulations to contribute to a healthy skin.


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  1. Discovery of the ergothioneine transporter – GRÜNDEMANN D., HARLFINGER S., GOLZ S., GEERTS A., LAZAR A., BERKELS R., JUNG N., RUBBERT A., and SCHÖMIG E. – 2005 – PNAS, 102(14):5256-5261
  2. Probing the substrate specificity of the ergothioneine transporter with methimazole, hercynine, and organic cations – GRIGAT S., HARLFINGER S., PAL S., STRIEBINGER R., GOLZ S., GEERTS A., LAZAR A., SCHÖMIG E., and GRÜNDEMANN D. – 2007 – Biochem. Pharmacol., 74(2):309-316
  3. A comparison of the relative antioxidant potency of L-ergothioneine and idebenone – DONG K.K., DAMAGHI N., KIBITEL J., CANNING M.T., SMILES K.A., and YAROSH D.B. – 2007 – J. Cosmet. Dermatol., 6(3):183-188
  4. Skin cells and tissue are capable of using L-ergothioneine as an integral component of their antioxidant defense system – MARKOVA N.G., KARAMAN-JURUKOVSKA N., DONG K.K., DAMAGHI N., SMILES K.A. and YAROSH D.B. – 2009 – Free Radic. Biol. Med., 46(8):1168-1176
  5. Ergothioneine. I. Distribution in the body and subcellular fractions of liver – HAMA T., KONISHI T., TAMAKI N., TUNEMORI F., and OKUMURA H. – 1972 – Vitamins, 46(3):121-126
  6. The antioxidant action of ergothioneine – AKANMU D., CECCHINI R., ARUOMA O.I. and HALLIWELL B. – 1991 – Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 288(1):10-16
  7. Antioxidant action of ergothioneine: Assessment of its ability to scavenge peroxynitrite – ARUOMA O.I., WHITEMAN M., ENGLAND T.G., and HALLIWELL B. – 1997 – Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 231(2):389-391
  8. An in vitro study on the free radical scavenging capacity of ergothioneine: comparison with reduced glutathione, uric acid and trolox – FRANZONI F., COLOGNATO R., GALETTA F., LAURENZA I., BARSOTTI M., DI STEFANO R., BOCCHETTI R., REGOLI F., CARPI A., BALBARINI A., MIGLIORE L., and SANTORO G. – 2006 – Biomed. Pharmacother., 60(8):453-457
  9. Deactivation of singlet molecular oxygen by thiols and related compounds, possible protectors against skin photosensitivity – ROUGEE M., BENSASSON R.V., LAND E.J., and PARIENTE R. – 1988 – Photochem. Photobiol., 47(4):485-489
  10. Quenching of singlet molecular oxygen by carnosine and related antioxidants. Monitoring 1270-nm phosphorescence in aqueous media – EGOROV S.Y., KURELLA E.G., BOLDYREV A.A., and KRASNOVSKY A.A. Jr – 1997 – Biochem. Mol. Biol. Int., 41(4):687-694
  11. Some prevalent biomolecules as defenses against singlet oxygen damage – DAHL T.A., MIDDEN W.R., and HARTMAN P.E. – 1988 – Photochem. Photobiol., 47(3):357-362
  12. Interaction of ergothioneine with metal ions and metalloenzymes – HANLON D.P. – 1971 – J. Med. Chem., 14(11):1084-1087
  13. Metal complexes of ergothioneine – MOTOHASHI N., MORI I., SUGIURA Y., and TANAKA H. – 1974 – Chem. Pharm. Bull., 22(3):654-657
  14. Ergothioneine prevents copper-induced oxidative damage to DNA and protein by forming a redox-inactive ergothioneine-copper complex – ZHU B.Z., MAO L., FAN R.M., ZHU J.G., ZHANG Y.N., WANG J., KALYANARAMAN B., and FREI B. – 2010 – Chem. Res. Toxicol., 24(1):30-34
  15. The unusual amino acid L-ergothioneine is a physiologic cytoprotectant – PAUL B.D., and SNYDER S.H. – 2010 – Cell Death Differ., 17(7):1134-1140
  16. Ergothioneine; antioxidant potential, physiological function and role in disease – CHEAH I.K., and HALLIWELL B. – 2012 – Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 1822(5):784-793
  17. L-Ergothioneine scavenges superoxide and singlet oxygen and supresses TNF-α and MMP-1 expression in UV-irradiated human dermal fibroblasts – OBAYASHI K., KURIHARA K., OKANO Y., MASAKI H., and YAROSH D.B. – 2005 – J. Cosmet. Sci., 56(1):17-27
  18. Genotoxicity of visible light (400-800 nm) and photoprotection assessment of ectoin, L-ergothioneine and mannitol and four sunscreens – BOTTA C., Di GIORGIO C., SABATIER A.S., and De MÉO M. – 2008 – J. Photochem. Photobiol. B: Biology, 91(1):24-34
  19. L-Ergothioneine protects skin cells against UV-induced damage- A preliminary study – BAZELA K., SOLYGA-ZUREK A., DEBOWSKA R., ROGIEWICZ K., BARTNIK E., and ERIS I. – 2014 – Cosmetics, 1:51-60