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J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Dec 12. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b05071. [Epub ahead of print]

Scalable biosynthesis of melanin by the basidiomycete Armillaria cepistipes.


Natural melanin features many interesting properties, including the ability to shield electromagnetic radiation, to act as scavenger for radical and reactive oxygen species and the capacity to chelate different metal ions. For these reasons, melanin is becoming increasingly relevant for the development of functional materials, for potential applications such as cosmetics, drug delivery and water purification. However, the extraction and purification of melanin from conventional sources (e.g. sepia ink, hair and wool) is inefficient and not easily scalable, hence gaverting its technological applications. Some fungal species, and especially wood decay basidiomycetes, can be regarded as promising sources of melanin. In the present study, we screened different fungi in regard to their melanin biosynthesis ability, using L-tyrosine as a precursor and we found that the Armillaria cepistipes strain (Empa 655) produced the highest yield of melanin (27.98 g L-1). Physicochemical characterization of the obtained fungal melanin revealed a typical eumelanin structure. The method for the biosynthesis of fungal melanin we propose is efficient, scalable and sustainable and has the potential to provide support for further technological exploitation.


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