Skip to main content
Log in

Atrorosins: a new subgroup of Monascus pigments from Talaromyces atroroseus

  • Biotechnological products and process engineering
  • Published:
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


A new series of azaphilone pigments named atrorosins have been isolated from the filamentous fungus Talaromyces atroroseus. Atrorosins have a similar azaphilone scaffold as the orange Monascus pigment PP-O, with a carboxylic acid group at C-1, but are unique by their incorporation of amino acids into the isochromene system. Despite that the atrorosin precursor PP-O, during fermentation, was initially produced as two isomers (3:2, cis:trans ratio), the atrorosins were surprisingly almost exclusively (99.5%) produced as the cis-form, possibly due to steric interactions with the incorporated amino acid. When grown on complex media, a whole range of atrorosins is produced, whereas individual atrorosins can be produced selectively during fermentation by supplementing with the desired primary amine-containing compound.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


The authors would like to thank the Novo Nordisk Foundation for the grant support (NNF16O23644) and Kasper Enemark-Rasmussen at the Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark, for running NMR experiments.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thomas Ostenfeld Larsen.

Ethics declarations

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material


(PDF 1982 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Isbrandt, T., Tolborg, G., Ødum, A. et al. Atrorosins: a new subgroup of Monascus pigments from Talaromyces atroroseus. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 104, 615–622 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: