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Erin Ross Sep 17
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Many colors that don't fade, made from one pigment

Five different pigments made from supraballs. Photo: Ming Xiao / University of Akron

Scientists at the University of Akron in Ohio have developed a way to use a single pigment — melanin — to create a range of usable colors, reports Science News. In a paper published September 15 in Science, the authors explain how melanin can be bound into "supraballs" to create the colors of the rainbow.

Why it matters: Traditional chemical pigments lose their color as they break down so for years researchers have tried to make longer-lasting colors. The new pigments — similar to those found in bird feathers and elsewhere in nature — could be added to paints, plastics, inks and other products.