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American Chemical Society's weekly PressPac -- March 11, 2009

rns with neonatal jaundice, sometimes requiring phototherapy, treatment with light. Bilirubin also gives a yellowish tinge to the skin of patients with jaundice resulting from liver disease. Until now, scientists never dreamed that plants, as well as animals, produce bilirubin.

The researchers used two powerful laboratory techniques, liquid chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance, to detect bilirubin in fruit of the white bird of paradise tree. The fruits contain unusual, orange-colored, furry seeds, and bilirubin turns out to be the coloring agent. They also found the pigment in two closely related plant species. The discovery may stir evolutionary research to understand why and how plants make what everyone regarded as an animals-only pigment, they suggest. - MTS

"Animal Pigment Bilirubin Discovered in Plants"


Cary Pirone, Ph.D.
Florida International University
Miami, Fla. 33199
Phone: 305-348-1453 or 305-348-3419
Fax: 305-348-1061


New technology for dating ancient rock paintings
Analytical Chemistry

A new dating method finally is allowing archaeologists to incorporate rock paintings some of the most mysterious and personalized remnants of ancient cultures into the tapestry of evidence used to study life in prehistoric times. That's the conclusion of a new report in ACS' Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal.

In the study, Marvin W. Rowe points out that rock paintings, or pictographs, are among the most difficult archaeological artifacts to date. They lack the high levels of organic material needed to assess a pi

Contact: Michael Woods
American Chemical Society

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