Three naturally occurring pyrrole acids were found in Sepia, human black hair, and bovine choroid and iris melanosomes using high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry—pyrrole-2,3-dicarboxylic acid (PDCA), pyrrole-2,3,5-tricarboxylic acid (PTCA) and pyrrole-2,3,4,5-tetracarboxylic acid (PTeCA). PDCA and PTCA are common markers quantified from oxidative degradation of eumelanins. Using standards, the amounts of naturally occurring PDCA and PTCA were determined and compared to those obtained following peroxide oxidation of the same samples. Because the naturally occurring acids are water soluble, these results indicate that care must be exercised when comparing PDCA and PTCA yields from the degradation analyses of melanins isolated and prepared by different methods. This work also establishes that PTeCA is a naturally occurring pyrrole acid in melanosomes.
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