Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 96, Issue 6, pp 1421–1440 | Cite as

Monascus pigments

  • Yanli Feng
  • Yanchun Shao
  • Fusheng ChenEmail author


Monascus pigments (MPs) as natural food colorants have been widely utilized in food industries in the world, especially in China and Japan. Moreover, MPs possess a range of biological activities, such as anti-mutagenic and anticancer properties, antimicrobial activities, potential anti-obesity activities, and so on. So, in the past two decades, more and more attention has been paid to MPs. Up to now, more than 50 MPs have been identified and studied. However, there have been some reviews about red fermented rice and the secondary metabolites produced by Monascus, but no monograph or review of MPs has been published. This review covers the categories and structures, biosynthetic pathway, production, properties, detection methods, functions, and molecular biology of MPs.


Monascus Secondary metabolite Pigment Chemical structure Molecular biology 



This work was supported by the programs for New Century of Chinese Ministry of Education (NCET-05-0667), National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2006AA10Z1A3) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 31171649 and 31271834).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Key Laboratory of Agro-MicrobiologyHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Environment Correlative DietologyHuazhong Agricultural University, Ministry of EducationWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Food Science and TechnologyHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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