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July 14, 1978

Characterization of Mummy Bone Ochronotic Pigment

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Biochemistry (Dr Lee) and Medicine (Dr Stenn), Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago. Dr Lee is now with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard University Medical School and The Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston.

JAMA. 1978;240(2):136-138. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290020058024

Radiologic examination of an Egyptian mummy showed characteristic radiologic changes seen in ochronosis. Desiring to confirm the diagnosis of ochronosis, punch biopsy samples of ochronotic mummy bone were removed for biochemical analysis. An organic solvent extraction procedure was developed to selectively isolate mummy ochronotic pigment, and spectroscopic methods were used to characterize the pigment as a homogentisicacid—derived polymer.

(JAMA 240:136-138, 1978)