Team:Shanghai SFLS SPBS/Implementation


We propose that our products could be used to dye human hair.

We have successfully produced pigments (melanin, indigo, dopaxanthin, indoline-betacyanin), pigment precursor dopamine, and bacterial oxidase laccase.

Previous works of literature have demonstrated hair dye methods using pigments melanin, indigo, or lawsone (Zi, n.d.; Wang et al., 2019). Having read these studies, we determined that dyeing hair using our synthesized pigments shall be feasible. We tried dyeing hair with standard pigments bought on the Internet and verified the dyeing methods.

Figure 1. Hair dye results with standard pigments. (A) Hair dye results with standard indigo and melanin. (B) Hair dye results with standard betacyanins. (C) Hair dye results with hydrochloride dopamine combined with hydrogen peroxide.

We additionally aim at combining laccase with pigment precursors to dye hair. In addition to dopamine, which can be oxidized into a blackish color, we will also test the dyeing properties of gallic acid and syringic acid, ferulic acid and syringic acid, and catechin combined with catechol. We have designed the protocols according to the documentation by Jeon et al. (2010).

If feasible, our products will mainly target people that need healthy and safe hair dyes, for example, those that dye hair very often or have sensitive skin. It is also important to acknowledge that our pigments shall be best at dyeing light-colored hair into dark colors.

In our questionnaire (more is discussed in our Human Practices section), we asked the public whether they would trust our potential product. As was expected, a lot of them expressed concerns over its price, safety, and effects. For example, some were unsure whether there would be any unsafe bacteria inside the dye, while others doubt if the pigments will remain in the hair for a long period of time. To ensure the safety of our potential implementation and address these concerns, we will need to perform more testing and characterization before trying to put the dye products into the market.


1. Zi, H. Study on the dyeing performance and mechanism of indigo and lawsone and their mixed system.

2. Wang, Z., Tschirhart, T., Schultzhaus, Z., Kelly, E., Chen, A., & Oh, E. et al. (2019). Melanin Produced by the Fast-Growing Marine Bacterium Vibrio natriegens through Heterologous Biosynthesis: Characterization and Application. Applied And Environmental Microbiology, 86(5). doi: 10.1128/aem.02749-19

3. Jeon, J., Kim, E., Murugesan, K., Park, H., Kim, Y., & Kwon, J. et al. (2010). Laccase-catalysed polymeric dye synthesis from plant-derived phenols for potential application in hair dyeing: Enzymatic colourations driven by homo- or hetero-polymer synthesis. Microbial Biotechnology, 3(3), 324-335. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7915.2009.00153.x

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