THE CHEMICAL NATURE OF THE MELANINS FROM Coprinus spp

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Among the Basidiomycetes the species of the genus Coprinus have black spores and hymenia that, at maturity, are transformed through autodigestion into a black or inky fluid that drops from the pileus and blackens the soil beneath the fruiting structures. The melanins from three different species of Coprinus have been characterized by spectroscopic techniques, including cross-polarization, magic-angle spinning carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance, and chemical and thermal degradations. The aliphatic moiety of these melanins is made up of fatty acids, polysaccharides, and proteins, and the aromatic part includes alkylbenzenes, alkylphenols, hydroxytoluenes, and more complex polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. It is very likely that the melanins of the Basidiomycetes, as represented by Coprinus species, contribute to soil humus formation.

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