Melanin is a dark natural pigment, powerful antioxidant which contains in hair, an eye retina, skin, fabrics, wool, etc. At vertebral organisms, including at the person, melanin is formed in special cells – melanocytes. It is postponed in a granuloobrazny look, in the state connected with protein.

Distinguish several types of melanin which differ from each other the in color:

  • Feomelanina – yellow melanina
  • Eumelanina – brown and black pigments

Melanin is eurysynusic practically in all organisms, except human fabrics, fabric of plants and even protozoa also saturated this substance. Melanin defines a hair color and skin, at fishes color of scales, at horses – a color, at birds – color of feathers depends on it. Thus, this pigment in many respects is responsible for outward of animals and plants.

One of the most important functions of melanin is protective. It is urged to secure covers against ultraviolet rays. These pigments at first absorb radiation, protecting thus deeper fabrics from beam damage, and also acquire radiation. Existence of the last function was revealed by scientists quite recently.

The lowered concentration of melanin or its total absence is not norm for an organism, and can bear big danger to the person who is especially living in the territory with the scorching sun. People, completely or almost completely deprived of this pigment are called albinos. Mortality of albinos in Africa makes about 60%.

As showed experiments, melanin influences not only skin color, a hair and other fabrics. When an animal long time entered melanin, they stopped frequent emotional and reactive reactions, at emotional rats the number of affective reactions decreased. Also it was revealed that the water-soluble form of melanin reduces formation of ulcers and quantity of hemorrhages, interferes with loss of body weight during a stress at animals. Other researches showed that melanin reduces the level of radionuclides in an organism that allowed to make it a basis of a prophylactic of ontogenetic and genetic effects of radiation.

Today melanin is used:

  • In pharmacology for prevention and treatment of diseases
  • In perfumery, cosmetic (additives to sunblock creams)
  • In the food industry (promotes long storage).
Section: M