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Scaled Melanin Production to Enable Advanced Materials

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W911SR-20-C-0040
Agency Tracking Number: A19B-010-0118
Amount: $171,497.00
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): 2020-12-07
Small Business Information
301 1st Street SW Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
United States
DUNS: 627132913
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Nikolai Braun
 Principal Investigator
 (434) 220-2504
Business Contact
 Michael Pruzan
Phone: (540) 769-8430
Research Institution
 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
 Valera T. Francis Valera T. Francis
1111 Spring Garden Street
Greensboro, NC 27412
United States

 (336) 334-4316
 Nonprofit College or University

Melanin is a largely unexplored biomolecule with a large diversity of molecular composition. It has broad electromagnetic absorbance, is capable of absorbing gamma radiation, is a strong antioxidant, and is resistant to environmental degradation. Despite many intriguing qualities, it has never been produced at industrial scales to enable innovations in materials and coatings. In response to the defined need to develop scaled production of melanin in order to explore development of advanced materials, Luna Innovations is proposing to extract natural melanin for several easily scalable biological sources. Luna will be performing a small-scale survey and down-selection of scalable melanin sources, and purifying several at gram quantities. The melanins will be characterized in a variety of ways to forecast the potential uses of the biomolecule, and will be applied as thin films for characterization as a first approximation of the utility of melanin in coating applications. In phase II Luna will conduct a much broader screen of scalable sources of melanin, and will produce greater quantities. In partnership with some of Luna’s existing collaborators, melanins will be evaluated for use in a variety of materials and coatings. Further, full industrial scaling of melanin will be explored using existing partnerships.

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

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