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    Melanin occurrence in Plenodomus biglobosus was investigated using electron paramagnetic (spin) resonance (EPR, ESR) spectroscopy. The fungus was isolated from living and dead leaves of European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.). Dark pigmentation of P. biglobosus mycelium in vitro, especially on the reverse, was observed. The black coloration intensified with the age of the culture and inspired us to check if the analyzed fungus species synthesizes melanin. Melanin contains unpaired electrons, thus, EPR spectroscopy was applied, as a specific technique, to verify its presence in P. biglobosus. The EPR spectrum of the mycelium showed a very strong melanin signal, revealing pheomelanin-like features. Thus, the black pigment of P. biglobosus was clearly identified as melanin. However, no melanin was detected in the apparently dark culture medium even when zinc (II) acetate was added to increase the sensitivity of detection. Pheomelanin has many unusual biological functions but it is not commonly found in fungi. Detection of this type of melanin in P. biglobosus, which can be both endophytic or pathogenic, suggests a closer examination of the potential role of this melanin in host-parasite interaction.


    Jan Pukalski, Natalia Marcol, Norbert Wolan, Przemysław Mieszko Płonka, Przemysław Ryszka, Tadeusz Kowalski, Dariusz Latowski. Detection of a pheomelanin-like pigment by EPR spectroscopy in the mycelium of Plenodomus biglobosus. Acta biochimica Polonica. 2020 Aug 28;67(3):295-301

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    PMID: 32853518

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