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From Extraction to Advanced Analytical Methods: The Challenges of Melanin Analysis

1
MedFuture—Research Center for Advanced Medicine, “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Louis Pasteur Street 4-6, Gh. Marinescu Street 23, 400349 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2
Department of Pharmaceutical Analysis, Faculty of Pharmacy, “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Louis Pasteur Street 6, 400349 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3
Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy, “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Louis Pasteur Street 6, 400337 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
4
Department of Dermopharmacy and Cosmetics, Faculty of Pharmacy, ”Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ion Creangă Street 12, 400010 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
5
Horia Hulubei National Institute for Physics and Nuclear Engineering, Reactorului Street 30, 077125 Măgurele, Romania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(16), 3943; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20163943
Received: 12 July 2019 / Revised: 8 August 2019 / Accepted: 11 August 2019 / Published: 13 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Melanins and Melanogenesis 2.0: from Nature to Applications)
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Abstract

The generic term “melanin“ describes a black pigment of biological origin, although some melanins can be brown or even yellow. The pigment is characterized as a heterogenic polymer of phenolic or indolic nature, and the classification of eu-, pheo- and allo- melanin is broadly accepted. This classification is based on the chemical composition of the monomer subunit structure of the pigment. Due to the high heterogeneity of melanins, their analytical characterization can be a challenging task. In the present work, we synthesized the current information about the analytical methods which can be applied in melanin analysis workflow, from extraction and purification to high-throughput methods, such as matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass-spectrometry or pyrolysis gas chromatography. Our thorough comparative evaluation of analytical data published so far on melanin analysis has proven to be a difficult task in terms of finding equivalent results, even when the same matrix was used. Moreover, we emphasize the importance of prior knowledge of melanin types and properties in order to select a valid experimental design using analytical methods that are able to deliver reliable results and draw consistent conclusions. View Full-Text
Keywords: melanin; eumelanin; pheomelanin; allomelanin; biopolymers; analytical methods; MALDI; pyrolysis gas chromatography melanin; eumelanin; pheomelanin; allomelanin; biopolymers; analytical methods; MALDI; pyrolysis gas chromatography
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Pralea, I.-E.; Moldovan, R.-C.; Petrache, A.-M.; Ilieș, M.; Hegheș, S.-C.; Ielciu, I.; Nicoară, R.; Moldovan, M.; Ene, M.; Radu, M.; Uifălean, A.; Iuga, C.-A. From Extraction to Advanced Analytical Methods: The Challenges of Melanin Analysis. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 3943.

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