• M. Thomas
Part of the Handbuch der Pflanzenphysiologie / Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology book series (532, volume 8)


By the middle of the nineteenth century several terms having the Greek prefix μέλας were in common use in Medicine, Ethnology, and Zoology, for describing the production of dark brown and black pigments, and also for the pigments themselves. Men with black hair and dark complexions were said to be melanic. In Pathology, the abnormal development of black pigment in some tissues, for example those of black cancers, was called melanosis. The colour was attributed to a substance named melanose. The term melanism was coined to describe the darkness of colour which frequently appears in excessive amounts in the epidermis, hair, feathers etc. of healthy animals. The chemical compound responsible for melanism was given the name melanin. Later in the century some authors used this name to describe the black pigment produced in melanotic diseases.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bach, A.: Peroxydasen als specifisch wirkende Enzyme. Ber. dtsch. chem. Ges. 39, 2126 (1906).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [1] Zur Kenntnis der in Tyrosinase tätigen Peroxydase. Ber. dtsch. chem. Ges. 41, 216 (1908).Google Scholar
  3. [2] Über die Wirkungsweise der Tyrosinase. Ber. dtsch. chem. Ges. 41, 221 (1908).Google Scholar
  4. Bertrand, G.: Sur une nouvelle oxydase, ou ferment soluble oxydant, d’origine végétale. C. r. Acad. Sci. Paris 122, 1215 (1896).Google Scholar
  5. Cantino, E. C., u. E. A. Horenstein: The role of ketoglutarate and polyphenol oxidase in the synthesis of melanin during morphogenesis in Blastocladiella emersonii. Physiol. Plantarum (Copenh.) 8, 189 (1955).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chodat, R., et H. Evard: Sur la répartition et la localisation de la tyrosinase chez les végétaux supérieurs. C. r. Soc. Physique et Hist. natur. 45, 52 (1928).Google Scholar
  7. Clapham, A. R., T. G. Tutin and E. F. Warburg: Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge 1952.Google Scholar
  8. Fürth, O. v., u. E. Jerusalem: Zur Kenntnis der melanotischen Pigmente und der fermentativen Melaninbildung. Beitr. chem. Physiol. u. Path. 10, 131 (1907).Google Scholar
  9. Fürth, O. v., u. H. Schneider: Über tierische Tyrosinasen und ihre Beziehungen zur Pigmentbildung. Beitr. chem. Physiol. u. Path. 1, 229 (1902).Google Scholar
  10. Gessard, C.: Études sur la tyrosinase. Ann. Inst. Pasteur 15, 593 (1901).Google Scholar
  11. Guggenheim, M.: Dioxyphenylalanin, eine neue Aminosäure aus Vicia jaba. Z. physiol. Chem. 88, 276 (1913).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hanausek, T. F.: Zur Kenntnis der Verbreitung der Phytomelane. Ber. dtsch. bot. Ges. 29, 557 (1911).Google Scholar
  13. Jacobson, F. W., and N. Millott: Phenolases and melanogenesis in the coelomic fluids of the echinoid Diadema antillarum Phillippi. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond., Ser. B 141, 231 (1953).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lerner, A. B.: Metabolism of phenylalanine and tyrosine. Adv. Enzymol. 14, 73 (1953).Google Scholar
  15. Lerner, A. B., and T. B. Fitzpatrick: Biochemistry of melanin formation. Physiologic. Rev. 80, 91 (1950).Google Scholar
  16. Mason, H. S.: Comparative biochemistry of the phenolase complex. Adv. Enzymol. 16, 105 (1955).Google Scholar
  17. Miller, E. R.: Dihydroxyphenylalanine, a constituent of the velvet bean. J. of Biol. Chem. 44, 481 (1920).Google Scholar
  18. Nelson, J. M., and C. R. Dawson: Tyrosinase. Adv. Enzymol. 4, 99 (1944).Google Scholar
  19. Onslow, M. W.: A note on tyrosinase. Biochemic. J. 17, 216 (1923).Google Scholar
  20. Principles of Plant Biochemistry. Cambridge 1931.Google Scholar
  21. Schaeffer, P.: A black mutant of Neurospora crassa. Arch. of Biochem. 47, 359 (1953).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schmalfuss, H., u. H. Bumbacher: Eine Farbvorstufe der Kartoffel. Biochem. Z. 315, 97 (1943).Google Scholar
  23. Schmalfuss, H., A. Heider u. K. Winkelmann: l-Tyrosin, Vorkommen und Abtrennung am Beispiel der Saubohne, Vicia jaba. Biochem. Z. 259, 465 (1933).Google Scholar
  24. Sizer, I. W.: Oxidation of proteins by tyrosinase and peroxidase. Adv. Enzymol. 14, 129 (1953).Google Scholar
  25. Thomas, M.: Melanins. In: Moderne Methoden der Pflanzenanalyse, Bd. 4, S. 661. Heidelberg: Springer 1955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Vries, M. A. de: Over de Vorming van Phytomelaan bij Tageies patula L. en enige andere Composieten. Leiden: Buurman 1948.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag oHG. Berlin · Göttingen · Heidelberg 1958

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Thomas

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations