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River Road Research today announced that the company has been awarded patent #8,815,539 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency of the United States Department of Commerce, for a method to produce melanin and inorganic fertilizer from fermentation leachates.

A pigment ubiquitous in nature, melanin is extremely difficult to isolate and refine in large quantities.  It has long been known to possess physical and electrical properties but few commercial applications have been developed due to the historically high cost.  Produced with conventional technology, melanin is often priced at $350 per gram. 

Melanin, which is the primary determinant of skin color, also has various applications as a compound in ultra-violet light and radiation protection, anti-oxidants, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.  The most tantalizing applications currently in development are organic battery technologies.  The patent awarded to River Road Research protects the method in which the company will be able to produce melanin for usage in these and other applications.

“Many scientific studies have verified that melanin has unique characteristics for a wide range of applications, especially in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and battery technology sectors which have growing global demand,” said Kenneth Nealson, Ph.D., vice president of research at River Road Research.  (Whites Awarded Various Patents For Melanin Production, Modulation and Alteration)