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Prodigiosin and its potential applications


Since a decade, there has been a strong consumer demand for more natural products. This has augmented inclination towards substitution of synthetic colorants with natural pigments. Natural pigments not only have the capacity to increase the marketability of products, they also demonstrate valuable biological activities as antioxidants and anticancer agents. There is a long history of exploitation of natural products produced by bacteria as sources of pharmaceutically important, bioactive compounds. Among natural pigments, pigments from microbial sources are potentially suitable alternatives to synthetic pigments. The red pigment prodigiosin (PG) has unusual properties, which have long been documented. The red-pigmented prodiginines are bioactive secondary metabolites produced by both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Prodigiosins are characterized by a common pyrrolyl pyrromethene skeleton, and the biological role of these pigments in the producer organisms remains unclear. Bacterial prodigiosins and their synthetic derivatives are effective proapoptotic agents against various cancer cell lines, with multiple cellular targets including multi-drug resistant cells with little or no toxicity towards normal cell lines. However, research into the biology of pigment production will stimulate interest in the bioengineering of strains to synthesize useful prodiginine derivatives. This review article highlights the characteristics and potential applications of prodigiosin pigment from Serratia as prodigiosins are real potential therapeutic drugs.

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Correspondence to H. K. Manonmani.

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Darshan, N., Manonmani, H.K. Prodigiosin and its potential applications. J Food Sci Technol 52, 5393–5407 (2015).

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  • Prodigiosin
  • Serratia
  • Food colorant
  • Cancer treatment