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Bioinorganic Chemistry and ApplicationsVolume 2012 2012, Article ID 361803, 10 pages

Research ArticleDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Oberlin College, 119 Woodland Street, Oberlin, OH 44074, USA

Received 4 December 2011; Revised 23 January 2012; Accepted 7 February 2012

Academic Editor: Patrick Bednarski

Copyright © 2012 Karin Sono et al. 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.


Interactions between metal ions and different forms of melanin play significant roles in melanin biochemistry. The binding properties of natural melanin and related synthetic materials can be exploited for nonbiological applications, potentially including water purification. A method for investigating metal ion-melanin interactions on solid support is described, with lead as the initial target. 2.5 cm discs of the hydrophobic polymer PVDF were coated with synthetic eumelanin from the tyrosinase-catalyzed polymerization of L-dopa, and with melanin extracted from human hair. Lead Pb

binding was quantified by atomic absorption spectroscopy flame mode, and the data was well fit by the Langmuir model. Langmuir affinities ranged from to  M

. At the maximum capacity observed, the synthetic eumelanin coating bound ~9% of its mass in lead. Binding of copper Cu

, zinc Zn

, and cadmium Cd

to the synthetic-eumelanin-coated discs was also investigated. Under the conditions tested, the Langmuir affinities for Zn

, Cd

, and Cu

were 35%, 53%, and 77%, respectively, of the Langmuir affinity for Pb

. The synthetic-eumelanin-coated discs have a slightly higher capacity for Cu

on a per mole basis than for Pb

, and lower capacities for Cd

and Zn

. The system described can be used to address biological questions and potentially be applied toward melanin-based water purification.

Autor: Karin Sono, Diane Lye, Christine A. Moore, W. Christopher Boyd, Thomas A. Gorlin, and Jason M. Belitsky



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