Generic placeholder image

Recent Patents on Biotechnology


ISSN (Print): 1872-2083
ISSN (Online): 2212-4012

Review Article

Technological and Scientific Prospection on Pigments Produced by Microorganisms

Author(s): Tainã Lima Silva de Souza, Carolina Oliveira de Souza and Marcelo Andrés Umsza-Guez*

Volume 17, Issue 4, 2023

Published on: 10 November, 2022

Page: [364 - 375] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/1872208317666221101121410

Price: $65


Background: Interest in natural pigments has grown due to the negative aspects caused by synthetic options, which trigger damage to the body and the environment. Research with natural pigments produced by microorganisms becomes viable in relation to other pigments extracted from animals or plants, as microorganisms have advantages in terms of versatility and productivity. Thus, production technologies are protected by patents.

Methods: To evaluate the evolution of research and technological development on producing natural pigments by different microorganisms through scientific and technological prospection. Scientific prospecting was done by searching articles published from 2010 to 2020 in the Scopus, Science Direct, and Web of Science databases. Technological prospecting was carried out with patents obtained from the European Patent Office (ESPACENET) database.

Results: The searches were based on the keywords “pigment” and “dye” crossed with microalgae, fungi, bacteria and yeast. A total of 2.811 articles and 451 patents were selected. Scientific prospecting has shown interest in alternative cultivation media, and among the microorganisms that produce pigments, fungi and microalgae are the most studied.

Conclusion: Technological prospecting showed that 375 (83%) recovered patent documents refer to the protection of pigment extraction and production techniques and that the largest patent holders are private companies, followed by Chinese universities.

Keywords: Bacteria, colorants, fermentation, fungi, yeasts, microalgae, patents.

Graphical Abstract
Sen T, Barrow CJ, Deshmukh SK. Microbial pigments in the food industry—challenges and the way forward. Front Nutr 2019; 6: 7.
[] [PMID: 30891448]
De Carvalho JC, Cardoso LC, Ghiggi V, Woiciechowski AL, De Souza Vandenberghe LP, Soccol CR. Microbial pigments. In: Brar SK, Dhillon GS, Soccol CR, Eds. Biotransformation of Waste Biomass into High Value Biochemicals. New York: Springer New York 2014; pp. 73-97.
Venil CK, Zakaria ZA, Ahmad WA. Bacterial pigments and their applications. Process Biochem 2013; 48(7): 1065-79.
Ramesh C, Vinithkumar NV, Kirubagaran R, Venil CK, Dufossé L. Multifaceted applications of microbial pigments: Current knowledge, challenges and future directions for public health implications. Vol. 7. Microorganisms 2019; 7(7): 186.
[] [PMID: 31261756]
Shahid M. Shahid-ul-Islam, Mohammad F. Recent advancements in natural dye applications: A review. J Clean Prod 2013; 53: 310-31.
Stikane A, Dace E, Stalidzans E. Closing the loop in bioproduction: Spent microbial biomass as a resource within circular bioeconomy. N Biotechnol 2022; 70: 109-15.
[] [PMID: 35680094]
Innovating for Sustainable Growth. A Bioeconomy for Europe. Eur Comm 2012; 33(10): 348-52.
McCormick K, Kautto N. The Bioeconomy in Europe: An Overview. Sustain 2013; 5(6): 2589-608.
Manikprabhu D, Lingappa K. γ Actinorhodin a natural and attorney source for synthetic dye to detect acid production of fungi. Saudi J Biol Sci 2013; 20(2): 163-8.
[] [PMID: 23961232]
Dufossé L, Fouillaud M, Caro Y, Mapari SAS, Sutthiwong N. Filamentous fungi are large-scale producers of pigments and colorants for the food industry. Curr Opin Biotechnol 2014; 26: 56-61.
[] [PMID: 24679259]
Tuli HS, Chaudhary P, Beniwal V, Sharma AK. Microbial pigments as natural color sources: current trends and future perspectives. J Food Sci Technol 2015; 52(8): 4669-78.
[] [PMID: 26243889]
Dufossé L. Pigments. (4th ed.). Microbial 2016; Vol. 4.
Dufossé L. Current and Potential Natural Pigments From Microorganisms (Bacteria, Yeasts, Fungi, Microalgae) Hand-book on Natural Pigments in Food and Beverages: Industrial Applications for Improving Food Color. Elsevier Ltd 2016; pp. 337-54.
Downham A, Collins P. Colouring our foods in the last and next millennium. Int J Food Sci Technol 2000; 35(1): 5-22.
Liu M, Peng Z, Wang X, et al. The effect of high energy ball milling on the structure and properties of two greenish mineral pigments. Dyes Pigments 2021; 193: 109494.
Borges ME, Tejera RL, Díaz L, Esparza P, Ibáñez E. Natural dyes extraction from cochineal (Dactylopius coccus). New extraction methods. Food Chem 2012; 132(4): 1855-60.
[] [PMID: 23442630]
Sánchez-Muñoz S, Mariano-Silva G, Leite MO, Mura FB, Verma ML, Da Silva SS, et al. Production of fungal and bacterial pigments and their applications. Biotechnological Production of Bioactive Compounds. Elsevier B.V. 2019; pp. 327-61.
Sodhi AS, Sharma N, Bhatia S, Verma A, Soni S, Batra N. Insights on sustainable approaches for production and applications of value added products. Chemosphere 2022; 286(Pt 1): 131623.
[] [PMID: 34346348]
Kirti K, Amita S, Priti S, Mukesh Kumar A, Jyoti S. Colorful world of microbes: Carotenoids and their applications. Adv Biol 2014; 2014: 1-13.
Nadu T. Solid state and submerged fermentation for the production of bioactive substances: a Comparative Study. Int J Sci Nat 2012; 3(3): 480-6.
Singhania RR, Patel AK, Thomas L, Goswami M, Giri BS, Pandey A. Industrial Enzymes. Industrial Biorefineries and White Biotechnology. Elsevier B.V. 2015; pp. 473-97.
Babitha S, Soccol CR, Pandey A. Jackfruit seed - A novel substrate for the production of Monascus pigments through solid-state fermentation. Food Technol Biotechnol 2006; 44(4): 465-71.
Shetty, Kumar AV, Dave N, et al. Production and extraction of red pigment by solid-state fermentation of broken rice using Monascus sanguineus NFCCI 2453. Biocatal Agric Biotechnol 2021; 33: 101964.
Kumar A, Sengupta B, Dasgupta D, Mandal T, Datta S. Recovery of value added products from rice husk ash to explore an economic way for recycle and reuse of agricultural waste. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol 2016; 15(1): 47-65.
Cantoia Júnior R, Capucho E, Garcia TM, et al. Lemongrass essential oil in sugarcane silage: Fermentative profile, losses, chemical composition, and aerobic stability. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2020; 260: 114371.
Kumar A, Vishwakarma HS, Singh J, Kumar M. Microbial pigments: Production and their applications in various industries. Int J Pharm Chem Biol Sci 2015; 5(1): 203-12.
Panesar R. Bioutilization of kinnow waste for the production of biopigments using submerged fermentation. Int J FOOD Nutr Sci 2014; 3: 1-6.
Panesar R, Kaur S, Panesar PS. Production of microbial pigments utilizing agro-industrial waste: A review. Curr Opin Food Sci 2015; 1(1): 70-6.
Liu GY, Nizet V. Color me bad: microbial pigments as virulence factors. Trends Microbiol 2009; 17(9): 406-13.
[] [PMID: 19726196]
Nigam PS, Luke JS. Food additives: production of microbial pigments and their antioxidant properties. Curr Opin Food Sci 2016; 7: 93-100.
Gonçalves BRP, Machado BAS, Hanna SA, Umsza-Guez MA. Prospective study of microbial colorants under the focus of patent documents. Recent Pat Biotechnol 2020; 14(3): 184-93.
[] [PMID: 31577212]
Malik K, Tokkas J, Goyal S. Microbial Pigments: A review. Int J Microb Resour Technol 2012; 2012(1): 361-5.
Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property I. Patent search. Ministério da Econômia. Available from:
Mercadante E, Paranhos J. Pharmaceutical patent term extension and patent prosecution in Brazil (1997-2018). Cad Saude Publica 2022; 38(1): e00043021.
[] [PMID: 35107507]
Questions around Patents. German Patent and Trade Mark Office. 2020. Available from: [Accessed on: 2021 Sep 8].
Jiang J, Baba K, Zhao Y, Feng J, Kumagai S. The dataset of Japanese patents and patents’ holding firms in green vehicle powertrains field. Data Br 2022; 44: 108524.
Morikawa M. Innovation in the service sector and the role of patents and trade secrets: Evidence from Japanese firms. J Jpn Int Econ 2019; 51: 43-51.
Balachandra Nair R, Ramachandranna PC. Patenting of microorganisms: Systems and concerns. J Commer Biotechnol 2010; 16(4): 337-47.
Yousufi MK. Analysis of patent laws with reference to microorganisms. Int J Pharm Biol Sci 2018; 8(4): 744-9.
Ribeiro BD, Barreto DW, Coelho MAZ. Technological Aspects of β-Carotene Production. Food Bioprocess Technol 2011; 4(5): 693-701.
Gmoser R, Sintca C, Taherzadeh MJ, Lennartsson PR. Combining submerged and solid state fermentation to convert waste bread into protein and pigment using the edible filamentous fungus N. intermedia. Waste Manag 2019; 97: 63-70.
[] [PMID: 31447028]
Heer K, Sharma S. Microbial pigments as a natural color: A review. Int J Pharm Sci Res 2017; 8(5): 1913-22.
Li L, Sun Y, Yuan Z, et al. Effect of microalgae supplementation on the silage quality and anaerobic digestion performance of Manyflower silvergrass. Bioresour Technol 2015; 189: 334-40.
[] [PMID: 25911593]
Dufossé L. Microbial Pigments From Bacteria, Yeasts, Fungi, and Microalgae for the Food and Feed Industries. In: Grumezescu AM, Holban AM, Eds. Natural and Artificial Flavoring Agents and Food Dyes. Academic Press 2018; pp. 113-32. Available from:
Pagels F, Salvaterra D, Amaro HM, Lopes G, Sousa-pinto I, Vasconcelos V, et al. Factorial optimization of upstream process for Cyanobium sp. pigments production. Journal of Applied Phycology 2020; 32: 3861-72.
Santos MC, Mendonça ML, Bicas JL. Modeling bikaverin production by Fusarium oxysporum CCT7620 in shake flask cultures. Bioresour Bioprocess 2020; 7(1): 13.
Chatragadda R, Dufossé L. Ecological and biotechnological aspects of pigmented microbes: A way forward in development of food and pharmaceutical grade pigments. Microorganisms 2021; 9(3): 637.
[] [PMID: 33803896]
Kumara NTRN, Lim A, Lim CM, Petra MI, Ekanayake P. Recent progress and utilization of natural pigments in dye sensitized solar cells: A review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2017; 78: 301-17.
Cassarini M, Besaury L, Rémond C. Valorisation of wheat bran to produce natural pigments using selected microorganisms. J Biotechnol 2021; 339: 81-92.
[] [PMID: 34364925]
Nemer G, Louka N, Vorobiev E, Salameh D, Nicaud JM, Maroun RG, et al. Mechanical cell disruption technologies for the extraction of dyes and pigments from microorganisms: A Review. Fermentation 2021; 7(1): 36. Available from:
Orona-Navar A, Aguilar-Hernández I, Nigam KDP, Cerdán-Pasarán A, Ornelas-Soto N. Alternative sources of natural pigments for dye-sensitized solar cells: Algae, cyanobacteria, bacteria, archaea and fungi. J Biotechnol 2021; 332: 29-53.
[] [PMID: 33771626]
Terán Hilares R, de Souza RA, Marcelino PF, et al. Sugarcane bagasse hydrolysate as a potential feedstock for red pigment production by Monascus ruber. Food Chem 2018; 245: 786-91.
[] [PMID: 29287441]
Zahan KA, Ismail NS, Leong CR, Rashid SA, Tong WY. Monascorubin production by Penicillium minioluteum ED24 in a solid-state fermentation using sesame seed cake as substrate. Mater Today Proc 2020; 31: 127-35.
Aruldass CA, Rubiyatno R, Venil CK, Ahmad WA. Violet pigment production from liquid pineapple waste by Chromo-bacterium violaceum UTM5 and evaluation of its bioactivity. RSC Advances 2015; 5(64): 51524-36.
Aruldass CA, Aziz A, Venil CK, Khasim AR, Ahmad WA. Utilization of agro-industrial waste for the production of yellowish-orange pigment from Chryseobacterium artocarpi CECT 8497. Int Biodeterior Biodegradation 2016; 113: 342-9.
Sharma R, Ghoshal G. Optimization of carotenoids production by Rhodotorula mucilaginosa (MTCC-1403) using agro-industrial waste in bioreactor: A statistical approach. Biotechnol Rep 2020; 25: e00407.
[] [PMID: 31886140]
Santos Ribeiro JE, da Silva Sant’Ana AM, Martini M, Sorce C, Andreucci A, Nóbrega de Melo DJ, et al. Rhodotorula glutinis cultivation on cassava wastewater for carotenoids and fatty acids generation. Biocatal Agric Biotechnol 2019; 22: 101419.
Šelo G, Planinić M, Tišma M, Tomas S, Koceva Komlenić D, Bucić-Kojić A. A comprehensive review on valorization of agro-food industrial residues by solid-state fermentation. Foods 2021; 10(5): 927.
[] [PMID: 33922545]
Rehman NNMA, Dixit PP. Influence of light wavelengths, light intensity, temperature, and pH on biosynthesis of extracellular and intracellular pigment and biomass of Pseudomonas aeruginosa NR1. J King Saud Univ Sci 2020; 32(1): 745-52.
Eghbali Babadi F, Boonnoun P, Nootong K, Powtongsook S, Goto M, Shotipruk A. Identification of carotenoids and chlorophylls from green algae Chlorococcum humicola and extraction by liquefied dimethyl ether. Food Bioprod Process 2020; 123: 296-303.
Arashiro LT, Boto-Ordóñez M, Van Hulle SWH, Ferrer I, Garfí M, Rousseau DPL. Natural pigments from microalgae grown in industrial wastewater. Bioresour Technol 2020; 303: 122894.
[] [PMID: 32032937]
Chen CY, Kuo EW, Nagarajan D, et al. Cultivating Chlorella sorokiniana AK-1 with swine wastewater for simultaneous wastewater treatment and algal biomass production. Bioresour Technol 2020; 302: 122814.
[] [PMID: 32004812]
Nematollahi MA, Laird DW, Hughes LJ, Raeisossadati M, Moheimani NR. Effect of organic carbon source and nutrient depletion on the simultaneous production of a high value bioplastic and a specialty pigment by Arthrospira platensis. Algal Res 2020; 47: 101844.
Bouhri Y, Askun T, Tunca B, Deniz G, Aksoy SA, Mutlu M. The orange-red pigment from Penicillium mallochii: Pigment production, optimization, and pigment efficacy against Glioblastoma cell lines. Biocatal Agric Biotechnol 2020; 23: 101451.
Liu J, Luo Y, Guo T, et al. Cost-effective pigment production by Monascus purpureus using rice straw hydrolysate as substrate in submerged fermentation. J Biosci Bioeng 2020; 129(2): 229-36.
[] [PMID: 31500988]
Saleem H, Mazhar S, Syed Q, Javed MQ, Adnan A. Bio-characterization of food grade pyocyanin bio-pigment extracted from chromogenic Pseudomonas species found in Pakistani native flora. Arab J Chem 2021; 14(3): 103005.
Padhan B, Poddar K, Sarkar D, Sarkar A. Production, purification, and process optimization of intracellular pigment from novel psychrotolerant Paenibacillus sp. BPW19. Biotechnol Rep 2021; 29: e00592.
[] [PMID: 33537212]
Lin C, Jia X, Fang Y, et al. Enhanced production of prodigiosin by Serratia marcescens FZSF02 in the form of pigment pellets. Electron J Biotechnol 2019; 40: 58-64.
Mussagy CU, Guimarães AAC, Rocha LVF, Winterburn J, Santos-Ebinuma VC, Pereira JFB. Improvement of carotenoids production from Rhodotorula glutinis CCT-2186. Biochem Eng J 2021; 165: 107827.
Villegas-Méndez MÁ, Papadaki A, Pateraki C, et al. Fed-batch bioprocess development for astaxanthin production by Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous based on the utilization of Prosopis sp. pods extract. Biochem Eng J 2021; 166: 107844.
Bonadio MP, Freita LA, Mutton MJR. Carotenoid production in sugarcane juice and synthetic media supplemented with nutrients by Rhodotorula rubra l02. Braz J Microbiol 2018; 49(4): 872-8.
[] [PMID: 29728338]
Schneider T, Graeff-Hönninger S, French WT, et al. Lipid and carotenoid production by oleaginous red yeast Rhodotorula glutinis cultivated on brewery effluents. Energy 2013; 61: 34-43.

Rights & Permissions Print Cite
© 2024 Bentham Science Publishers | Privacy Policy