Scientists Develop Molecular Code for Melanin-Like Materials

Polymeric pigments produced by guided oxidation of peptide assemblies.

Polymeric pigments produced by guided oxidation of peptide assemblies.

August 14, 2017 | Source: City University of New York (CUNY), asrc.cuny.edu, 8 June 2017, Tanya Domi and Paul McQuiston

Scientists have long known that melanin—the pigments that give color to skin, hair and eyes—has numerous useful qualities, including providing protection from cancer-causing UV radiation and free radicals, but also electronic conductance, adhesiveness and the capacity to store energy.

To take advantage of these qualities, scientists across the City University of New York (CUNY) have developed a new approach for producing materials that not only mimic the properties of melanin, but also provide unprecedented control over expressing specific properties of the biopolymer, according to a paper published today in the journal Science. The discovery could enable the development of cosmetic and biomedical products.