Project Title

Melanin An Emerging Alternative

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Molecular and Cellular Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Christopher Cornelison

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The term melanin refers to a diverse set of dark polymeric pigments found in all kingdoms of life. Melanin has a variety of additional uses, which include semiconductors, bioelectronics, drug delivery, photoprotection, and environmental bioremediation, to name a few. Currently, there is not an efficient method of on-demand production since current sources are byproducts from other industries, particularly wild-harvested cephalopods leading to low yields and high prices. There are multiple alternatives to current melanin sources, with fungal melanin being a promising option that this project focuses on. Some of the challenges in the applications of fungal melanin to technology include the knowledge gap about their detailed structure, difficulties in isolating melanotic fungi, and challenges in producing melanin from isolated species. Overall, melanin falls under the Dye & Pigment Manufacturing Industry which generates $5.3 billion annually and is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 2.5% to 2026. For this project we conducted a SWOT analysis to better understand the market surrounding this emerging alternative. The SWOT analysis provided few key takeaways to summarize the potential for this market. The top three takeaways include: high barriers to entry leading to fewer competitors over time, low levels of assistance since this is an emerging alternative, and high revenue growth potential to 2026.

Disciplines

Other Microbiology

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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Melanin An Emerging Alternative

The term melanin refers to a diverse set of dark polymeric pigments found in all kingdoms of life. Melanin has a variety of additional uses, which include semiconductors, bioelectronics, drug delivery, photoprotection, and environmental bioremediation, to name a few. Currently, there is not an efficient method of on-demand production since current sources are byproducts from other industries, particularly wild-harvested cephalopods leading to low yields and high prices. There are multiple alternatives to current melanin sources, with fungal melanin being a promising option that this project focuses on. Some of the challenges in the applications of fungal melanin to technology include the knowledge gap about their detailed structure, difficulties in isolating melanotic fungi, and challenges in producing melanin from isolated species. Overall, melanin falls under the Dye & Pigment Manufacturing Industry which generates $5.3 billion annually and is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 2.5% to 2026. For this project we conducted a SWOT analysis to better understand the market surrounding this emerging alternative. The SWOT analysis provided few key takeaways to summarize the potential for this market. The top three takeaways include: high barriers to entry leading to fewer competitors over time, low levels of assistance since this is an emerging alternative, and high revenue growth potential to 2026.

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