Friday, June 9, 2017

Difficulty of Making Melanin in a Laboratory #Science

News of science regarding melanin is of high Rockhouse interest since it's Nature's best protectant against skin cancers.  Black people just don't get skin cancer or it's so difficult they practically have to beg for it.  That's fact from science but I've presented citations previously and no need to do it again.  I'm also crawling with skin cancer so anything which offers a natural help to people escalates to any even higher interest.

Polymeric pigments were produced by guided oxidation of peptide assemblies.
Credit: Matej Vakula, NYC

Melanin in a petri dish isn't that compelling but the difficulty in making it may be of high interest to some.

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 in the journal Science. The discovery could enable the development of cosmetic and biomedical products.

Science Daily:  Molecular code for melanin-like materials

Perhaps that didn't sound so difficult so far but here's the Problem to Solve:

Unlike other biopolymers, such as DNA and proteins, where a direct link exists between the polymers' ordered structures and their properties, melanin is inherently disordered, so directly relating structure to function is not possible. As a result, researchers have been unable to fully exploit melanin's properties because the laboratory-based synthesis of melanin has been thwarted by the difficulty of engineering its disorderly molecular structure.

- SD

It's going to take a  heady voyager to navigate the waters of these researchers to discover how they resolved the problem and the interested student is invited to pursue the original article.  However, we're going for the conclusion to find what they will do with it.

The findings published in Science build on previous research conducted by Ulijn, who is also the Albert Einstein Professor of Chemistry at Hunter College and a member of the biochemistry and chemistry doctoral faculty at the Graduate Center. His lab will now turn its attention to further clarifying the chemical structures that form and expanding the resulting functionalities and properties of the various melanin-like materials they produce. The researchers are also pursuing commercialization of this new technology, which includes near-term possibilities in cosmetics and biomedicine.

- SD

There's more to the conclusion in the article but we have what we want from it.  The Rockhouse sees biomedicine and it's the finest kind when melanin is purely natural so it could be a relatively easy way for white people to protect against skin cancer.

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