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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Aug 12;57(15):7072-7. doi: 10.1021/jf9005824.

Effects of selected organo-sulfur compounds on melanin formation.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Technology, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, 60 Erh-Jen Road, Section 1, Pao-An, Jen-Te Hsing, Tainan, Taiwan, Republic of China.


The effect of organo-sulfur compounds, including 1-propylmercaptan (PM), dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), diallyl disulfide (DADS), propyl disulfide (PDS), and 2,5-dimethylthiophene (DMT), on melanin formation was investigated. Among the selected five organo-sulfur compounds, PM displayed a significant inhibitory effect on tyrosinase activity (IC(50) = 0.5 mM) and the highest inhibitory action on o-quinone formation. In the B16 intracellular model system, the inhibitory action of selected five organo-sulfur compounds on tyrosinase activity and melanin formation may be, in part, attributed to the reduction of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation and positive modulation of the GSH/GSSG ratio in B16 cells. Among the five organo-sulfur compounds, PM appeared to be the most potent inhibitor of melanin formation. The analysis of inhibitory kinetics revealed that PM is a mixed-type inhibitor. This is the first study indicating that organo-sulfur compounds tested may play an important role in the regulation of melanin formation, making them the potent candidates for skin-whitening agents.

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