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Eumelanin exhibits a defined supramolecular buildup that is deprived of at least three distinct particle species. To enable the full potential of its promising material properties, access to all particle types is crucial. In this work, the first protocol for the synthesis of the intermediate type-A particles in pure and stable dispersion form is described. It is found that aggregation of type-A particles into the larger type-B variant can be inhibited by a strict pH control during the synthesis. The exact influence of pH on the supramolecular buildup is investigated via a combination of time-resolved light scattering, electron microscopy, and UV-vis spectroscopy. It is observed that a rapid buildup of type-B particles occurs without pH control and is generally dominant at lower pH values. At pH values above 6.2 however, type-A particles are gained, and no further aggregation occurs. Even more, lowering the pH of such a stable type-A dispersion at a later stage lifts the inhibition and again leads to the formation of larger particle species. The results confirm that it is easily possible to halt the aggregation of eumelanin substructures and to access them in the form of a stable dispersion. Moreover, a profound additional understanding of the supramolecular buildup is gained by the in-depth investigation of the pH influence.


Anne Büngeler, Fabian Kollmann, Klaus Huber, Oliver I Strube. Targeted Synthesis of the Type-A Particle Substructure from Enzymatically Produced Eumelanin. Biomacromolecules. 2022 Mar 14;23(3):1020-1029

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PMID: 34982545

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