Microbial Pigments

  • Júlio C. De CarvalhoEmail author
  • Lígia C. Cardoso
  • Vanessa Ghiggi
  • Adenise Lorenci Woiciechowski
  • Luciana Porto de Souza Vandenberghe
  • Carlos Ricardo Soccol


Color is a visual way of communication and rather very important one in foods, drugs, and cosmetics for creating or maintaining their acceptability or appeal. However, not all products are colored, or evenly so, and color additives are to be used in these products. Synthetic colors are being substituted by natural color additives, which have a market estimated in US$ 600 million and steadily growing at around 2 % annually. Natural colors are usually easier to metabolize than their synthetic counterparts and in several cases even have beneficial metabolic activity, as in carotenoid pigments. As a natural source, microbial pigments are suitable for mass production, when compared with vegetal or animal extracts. At the other side, these color additives are inherently less stable than synthetic ones, a problem that explains the limited palette of commercial microbial color additives. This chapter discusses the biological function of biopigments and presents the most important cases of commercial microbial pigments such as β-carotene, riboflavin, astaxanthin, phycocyanin, chlorophyllins, and Monascus pigments and the challenges and opportunities of its production using agro-industrial wastes. Finally, it discusses new product development, from microorganism selection to product formulation and trends in biopigment production.


Color Additive Mixotrophic Culture Riboflavin Production Rhodotorula Glutinis Monascus Pigment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Júlio C. De Carvalho
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lígia C. Cardoso
    • 2
  • Vanessa Ghiggi
    • 1
  • Adenise Lorenci Woiciechowski
    • 1
  • Luciana Porto de Souza Vandenberghe
    • 1
  • Carlos Ricardo Soccol
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology and Bioprocess EngineeringFederal University of Paraná—UFPRCuritibaBrazil
  2. 2.Positivo UniversityCuritibaBrazil

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