College of Engineering and Polymer Science

Date of Last Revision

2023-05-04 20:45:42


Chemical Engineering

Honors Course

4200 497

Number of Credits


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2022


The goal of this research project was to optimize the extraction of melanin from black knot fungus and to analyze possible applications of the extracted melanin. An extraction method that was previously created was examined for possible improvements. Improvements that were studied include the elimination of steps in the extraction process while obtaining the same quality of product, examining options for machinery that could be used to increase production rate when moved to a production plant setting, and optimize the concentrations of the raw materials that are used in the extraction for possible reduction of cost without compromising yield or final product quality. Applications of melanin were also studied based on its properties of UV absorbance. A whole black knot was dissolved in NaOH but the IR was inconsistent with literature. The NaOH concentration was varied from 0.5M-1.5M with 1M being the optimal concentration. An acid reflux only procedure was performed where the yield increased from 10% for the original extraction procedure to 40%. IR spectroscopy showed peaks consistent with literature and RAMAN, SEM, and IR after UV exposure further confirmed the presence of melanin in the product indicating this as a possible improvement to the previous extraction procedure.

Research Sponsor

Ali Dhinojwala

First Reader

Bi-min Zhang Newby

Second Reader

Roya Gitiafroz

Honors Faculty Advisor

Bi-min Zhang Newby

Amara-Davis Signature Page Honors Project.pdf (316 kB)
Final honors project approval signature page



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