Skip to main content

Potential for fungal dyes as colorants in oil and acrylic paints


Potential applications for colorants derived from the spalting fungi Chlorociboria aeruginascens, Chlorociboria aeruginosa, Scytalidium cuboideum, and Scytalidium ganodermophthorum are of growing interest across a variety of fields, from wood and textile dyes, to solar cells. Previous research found that these dyes could be carried in natural oils, specifically raw linseed oil, instead of organic solvents, thereby eliminating the toxicity issues surrounding such carriers. In this work, dyes from the aforementioned fungi were extracted, carried in raw linseed oil, and mixed with a range of oil and acrylic paints to determine if the oil carrier was appropriate for delivering the dyes into a paint matrix. The oil-based dyes did not mix evenly with the acrylic paints; however, the acrylic paints maintained the color of the dyes. In contrast, the oil-based paints mixed well with the dyes, but the dyes decolorized (completely lost color) due to the presence of refined linseed oil in the paint base. Artists’ paints do not appear to be compatible with fungal dyes when carried in oil; however, there are still many potential applications for the oil-based dyes, such as wood and textile dyeing.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1


  1. Robinson, SC, Michaelsen, H, Robinson, J, Spalted Wood. The History, Science, and Art of a Unique Material. Schiffer Publishing, Atglen (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Kang, HJ, Ahn, KS, Han, CW, Jeong, KH, Park, SJ, Song, IG, Yun, T, Min, KB, “Xylogone ganodermophthora strain with antifungal activity, and composition including same for preventing plant diseases.” US Grant No. 8821888 B2 (2014)

  3. Brooks, FT, “Improvements in or relating to colouring and/or preserving wood.” English Patent No. 24,595, 1913

  4. Beck, HG, Freitas, S, Weber, G, Robinson, SC, Morrell, JJ, “Resistance of fungal derived pigments to ultraviolet light exposure.” International Research Group on Wood Protection, IRG/WP 14-30642 (2014)

  5. Hinsch, E, Weber, G, Chen, H-L, Robinson, SC, “Colorfastness of extracted wood-staining fungal pigments on fabrics–a new potential for textile dyes.” J. Text. Appar. Technol. Manag., 9 (3) 1–11 (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Weber, G, Chen, H-L, Hinsch, E, Freitas, S, Robinson, SC, “Pigments extracted from the wood-staining fungi Chlorociboria aeruginosa, Scytalidium cuboideum, and S. ganodermophthorum show potential for use as textile dyes.” Coloration Technol., 130 (6) 445–452 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Harrison, H, Quinn, A, Weber, G, Johnson, B, Rath, J, Remcho, V, Robinson, SC, Ostroverkhova, O, “Fungi-derived pigments as sustainable organic (opto)electronic materials.” SPIE Proceedings 10101, Organic Photonic Materials and Devices XIX, 101010U (2017)

  8. Robinson, SC, Hinsch, E, Weber, G, Freitas, S, “Method of extraction and resolubilization of pigments from Chlorociboria aeruginosa and Scytalidium cuboideum, two prolific spalting fungi.” Coloration Technol., 103 221–225 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Robinson, SC, Weber, G, Hinsch, E, Vega Gutierrez, S, Pittis, L, Freitas, S, “Utilizing extracted fungal pigments for wood spalting–a comparison of induced fungal pigmentation to fungal dyeing.” J. Coat., (2014).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Robinson, SC, Vega Gutierrez, SM, Cespedes, RA, Iroume, N, Vorland, NR, McClelland, A, Huber, M, Stanton, S, “Potential for carrying pigments derived from spalting fungi in natural oils.” J. Coat. Technol. Res., 14 (5) 1107–1113 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Edwards, RL, Kale, N, “The structure of xylindein.” Tetrahedron, 21 (8) 2095–2107 (1965)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Saikawa, Y, Watanabe, T, Hashimoto, K, Nakata, M, “Absolute configuration and tautomeric structure of xylindein, a blue–green pigment of Chlorociboria species.” Phytochemistry, 55 (3) 237–240 (2000)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Golinski, P, Krick, TP, Blanchette, RA, Mirocha, CJ, “Chemical characterization of a red pigment (5,8-dihydroxy-2,7-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthalenedione) produced by Arthrographis cuboidea in pink stained wood.” Holzforschung, 49 (5) 407–410 (1995)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Vega Gutierrez, S, Robinson, SC, “Microscopic analysis of pigments extracted from spalting fungi.” J. Fungi, 3 15 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Robinson, SC, Tudor, D, Zhang, W, Ng, S, Cooper, PA, “Ability of three yellow pigment producing fungi to color wood under controlled conditions.” Int. Wood Prod. J., 5 (2) 103–107 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Barnett, JR, Miller, S, Pearce, E, “Colour and art: a brief history of pigments.” Opt. Laser Technol., 38 (4–6) 445–453 (2006)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Robinson, SC, Tudor, D, Snider, H, Cooper, PA, “Stimulating growth and xylindein production of Chlorociboria aeruginascens in agar-based systems.” AMB Express, 2 15 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hinsch, E, Robinson, SC, “Mechanical color reading of wood-stained fungal pigment textile dyes: An alternative method for determining colorfastness.” Coatings, 6 (3) 25 (2016)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Lazzari, M, Chiantore, O, “Drying and oxidative degradation of linseed oil.” Polym. Degrad. Stab., 65 (2) 303–313 (1999)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Oyman, ZO, Ming, W, van der Linde, R, “Oxidation of drying oils containing non-conjugated and conjugated double bonds catalyzed by a cobalt catalyst.” Prog. Org. Coat., 54 (3) 198–204 (2005)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Vega Gutierrez, SM, Vega Gutierrez, PT, Godienz, A, Pittis, L, Huber, M, Stanton, S, Robinson, SC, “Feasibility of coloring bamboo with the application of natural and extracted fungal pigments.” Coatings, 6 (3) 37 (2016)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Seri C. Robinson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Robinson, S.C., Vega Gutierrez, S.M., Garcia, R.A.C. et al. Potential for fungal dyes as colorants in oil and acrylic paints. J Coat Technol Res 15, 845–849 (2018).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Chlorociboria
  • Paint
  • Scytalidium cuboideum
  • Scytalidium ganodermophthorum
  • Spalting