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D. J. Kim, K.-Y. Ju and J.-K. Lee, “The synthetic melanin nanoparticles having an excellent binding capacity,” Bull. Korean Chem. Soc, Vols. 33, No. 11, pp. 3788-3792, 2012.

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Morphological and Chemical Composition Characterization of Commercial Sepia Melanin

1UNESCO-UNISA Africa Chair in Nanosciences/Nanotechnology, College of Graduate Studies,

2University of South Africa, Pretoria-South Africa

3Nanosciences African Network (NANOAFNET), iThemba LABS-National Research Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa

4Laboratoire de Photonique et de nanofablication, Groupe de Physique du Solide et des Science matériaux (GPSSM), Faculté de Science et Techniques, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar(UCAD), Dakar, Sénégal

5CSIR- National Centre for Nano-Structured Materials, Pretoria, South Africa

6University of South Africa, Pretoria-South Africa;Department of Physics, Florida Research Centre, University of South Africa, Florida-South Africa

American Journal of Nanomaterials. 2015, Vol. 3 No. 1, 22-27
DOI: 10.12691/ajn-3-1-3
Copyright © 2015 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Agnes Mbonyiryivuze, Z. Y. Nuru, Balla Diop Ngom, Bonex Mwakikunga, Simon Mokhotjwa Dhlamini, Eugene Park, Malik Maaza. Morphological and Chemical Composition Characterization of Commercial Sepia Melanin. American Journal of Nanomaterials. 2015; 3(1):22-27. doi: 10.12691/ajn-3-1-3.

Correspondence to: Agnes  Mbonyiryivuze, UNESCO-UNISA Africa Chair in Nanosciences/Nanotechnology, College of Graduate Studies,. Email:


Melanins are difficult to characterize because of their intractable chemical properties and the heterogeneity in their structural features. Melanin pigments, in fact, are composed of many different types of monomeric units that are connected through strong carbon-carbon bonds. Its high insolubility and undefined chemical entities are two obstacles in its complete characterization. The morphological characterization and particle size distribution for sepia melanin by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) on surface structure and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to confirm the morphology obtained from SEM was done. Both results show that Sepia melanin is formed by many aggregates agglomerated together. These aggregates are formed also by small spherical granules with different size distributions that have been determined using image-J software. The small granule diameter obtained from different TEM and SEM micrographs were 100-200nm. EDS reveals that C and O were the most abundant in sepia melanin with concentration average concentrations of about 57% and 24% respectively. The major compositions of sepia melanin are C, O, Na, Cl, while the minor are Mg, Ca, K, S and N. From TEM micrograph at high resolution, it was possible to measure the distance between polymers layers of sepia melanin using image-J software and it was 0.323 nm = 3.23 Å.