The Polymerization of Homogentisic Acid In Vitro as a Model for Pyomelanin Formation

Hanaa A. Galeb, Angelo Lamantia, Alexander Robson, Katja König, Jonas Eichhorn, Sara J. Baldock, Mark D. Ashton, John V. Baum, Richard L. Mort, Benjamin J. Robinson, Felix H. Schacher, Victor Chechik, Adam M. Taylor, John G. Hardy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Melanins are a class of biopolymers that are widespread in nature, with diverse origins, compositions, and functions, and their chemical and optoelectronic properties render them potentially useful for application in materials science for various biotechnological applications. For patients with alkaptonuria, the accumulation of homogentisic acid (HGA) in their bodies is associated with the concomitant deposition of pyomelanin, which is a pigment that contains significant amounts of polymerized HGA (polyHGA) in the bodily tissues of the patients. The polymerization of HGA under various different conditions in vitro is investigated using a selection of different analytical chemistry techniques to understand if there may be a correlation between the conditions and pigment deposition in vivo, and their potential for application as green/sustainable and components of electronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100489
Number of pages10
JournalMacromolecular Chemistry and Physics
Issue number6
Early online date10 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Ministry of Education of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Cultural Bureau for financial support for H.A.G. (Grant: KAU1526). J.G.H. thanks the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for financial support (via Grant Nos. EP/R003823/1, EP/R511560/1, and EP/K03099X/1), and the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council for financial support (via Grant No. BB/L0137971/1) and the UK Royal Society for financial support (via Grant No. RG160449). J.G.H. and R.L.M. thank the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) for financial support (via Grant No. MC_PC_17192). The authors thank Geoffrey R. Akien at Lancaster University for insightful discussions about NMR.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics published by Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • alkaptonuria
  • conjugated polymers
  • melanins
  • organic electronics
  • pyomelanins

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