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Large-scale production of fungal melanin for novel radiation shielding/harvesting applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W911SR-20-C-0032
Agency Tracking Number: A19B-010-0056
Amount: $166,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: A19B-T010
Solicitation Number: 19.B
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-06-08
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-04-30
Small Business Information
615 North Wolfe St E5132
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States
DUNS: 081262454
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Radames Jb Cordero
 Chief Executive Officer
 (787) 242-2004
Business Contact
 Lisa Walborn
Phone: (410) 614-4233
Research Institution
 Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
 Thomas R Mattern Thomas R Mattern
615 North Wolfe St
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

 (443) 997-1922
 Nonprofit College or University

Melanin-based biomaterials present novel solutions to radiation shielding/countermeasures, camouflage, and insulation, among others. A scalable and sustainable production process for natural melanins is needed to support the R&D and commercialization of melanin-based technologies. MelaTech proposes to develop a fermentation system that involves a novel, rapid melanin isolation process to yield gram quantities of natural melanin from fungi. This process was originally developed by the Casadevall group at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Casadevall group and collaborators have additionally demonstrated that fungal melanin is effective in shielding against ionizing radiation and capture heat from the entire solar irradiance. MelaTech will collaborate with JHU-Bloomberg to 1) optimize a fungal melanin production process for scalability, and 2) systematically characterize melanin’s ability to shield and/or absorb X-rays, Ultraviolet, Visible, Infrared, and Microwave radiation frequencies. The characterization will include irradiating different melanin formulations/sources and detecting heat energy-transfer processes using thermography. Our approach for the Microwave shielding experiments will involve the use of a melanin-based biocomposite which will also serve as proof-of-concept validation and application testing for Phase II. The proposed fungal melanin fermentation system is versatile as it can accommodate large commercial needs and may be adapted to other microbial species.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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