Since its first isolation in 1844, usnic acid [2,6-diacetyl-7,9-dihydroxy-8,9b-dimethyl-1,3(2H,9bH)-dibenzo-furandione] has become the most extensively studied lichen metabolite and one of the few that is commercially available. Usnic acid is uniquely found in lichens, and is especially abundant in genera such as Alectoria, Cladonia, Usnea, Lecanora, Ramalina and Evernia. Many lichens and extracts containing usnic acid have been utilized for medicinal, perfumery, cosmetic as well as ecological applications.
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