Murex


Bolinus brandaris is a marine gastropod mollusk originally known as Murex brandaris. The main characteristic is the production of a mucous secretion in the hypobranchial gland that has been extensively used as a long lasting dyeing substance. The color obtained is known as Tyrian purple.
Used from pre-Roman times, the big amount of mollusk needed for a little amount of dye made this color a luxury trade, becoming a color for royalty. One of the most important habitats for Bolinus brandaris is the Mediterranean Sea, where it is commonly consumed as food.
The principal responsible of this color is the 6,6’-dibromoindigo. In its shellfish, a transparent substance reacts with the enzyme arylsulfatase when put in contact, generating hydrolyzed compounds that are susceptible to oxidative and photochemical reactions in contact with sunlight, having a deep purple as result.

murex RGB

murex RGB

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