Bio-Pigment surrounding through different colors and colors play

Bio-Pigment Production: Pigments, Resources and


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organism have different pigments that give color to organism as well as play a developmental
role. Mostly living organisms meet their surrounding through different colors
and colors play a great role in attraction because things can be accepted or
even rejected base on their color. Today, there is focus on synthetic
biological synthesis of pigments through microbes or fungi by fermentation
technology. Bacteria and fungi are mostly use because they have properties like
fast growth and easy processing. Microbial pigments offer several advantages
like they can be use as anticancer, immunosuppressive and antiproliferative.
These pigments can also be use in different industries like food, pharmaceutical,
textile etc. The demand natural pigment has been increased due to harmful
impact of synthetic chemicals. This review outlines different pigments, their resources
and natural and synthetic production of these pigments.


are chemical compound that have ability to absorb light and produce color due
to chromophore. Chromophore capture the light as a result electron get excited and
jump to higher orbit and release colored wavelength of light energy. Pigments
are present in almost every organism, plants are primary producer, so, we
encountered with pigments at every step of our lives. They are present in
leaves, fruits, vegetables and flowers as well as in eyes, skins and other
animal structures. They are also produced in variety of fungi and bacteria.
Synthetic and natural pigments have applications in food, medicines, cosmetic,
clothes and many more. Natural pigments have very important function other than
just beauty like chlorophyll and carotenoid play a role in photosynthesis. When
plant is under stress they produce flavonoids in high amount and quinones have
ability to convert light into chemical energy. Hemoglobin in animal play a role
in oxygen transport. Melanin is major pigment in animals and human that give
protection against sun rays. Many fungi also produced melanin that have role in
major cycles. Pigments have variety of pharmacological activities.
Traditionally people don’t care about pigment types but now because of
awareness public concern over type of pigment majorly use in food and other
industries. The great work has been done that link pigments with illness so
regulatory authorities have also stricken the rues about pigment use in
different understanding the real source of pigments lead to their
better use in different industries. Delgado-Vargas,
F., Jiménez, A. R., & Paredes-López, O. (2000). Natural pigments:
carotenoids, anthocyanins, and betalains—characteristics, biosynthesis,
processing, and stability. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 40(3),

prehistoric time, aesthetic use of pigment was common but use of color to food
was first started by Egyptians. Mauvine was first synthetic color. These
synthetic colors extensively use in food industry but current toxicology testing
raise the concern regarding their use. Some dyes and pigments are responsible
for allergies and cancers e.g. benzene dyes are responsible for bowl cancer.
Synthetic pigments also hinder the environment so interest toward natural
production of pigment has been increased. Plant and microbes are two principal
sources of natural pigments. Pigments are naturally produce by plant but
large-scale production have limitation such as cost etc. Microbes such as
bacteria and fungi are best sources for pigment production due to several
advantages over plants.

Rao, N., Prabhu, M., Xiao, M., & Li, W. J.
(2017). Fungal and bacterial pigments: secondary metabolites with wide
applications. Frontiers in microbiology, 8, 1113.

Colors make the
product attractive, world without colors cannot be imagine. The major
disadvantage of synthetic pigment is toxicity that why trend is shifted toward
microbial synthetic pigments.

A., Vishwakarma, H. S., Singh, J., Dwivedi, S., & Kumar, M. (2015).
INDUSTRIES. International Journal of Pharmaceutical, Chemical &
Biological Sciences, 5(1).

Research trends and
knowledge increase demand for safer pigments and dyes and this shift hitting
the economy very badly. Filamentous fungi and various bacterial species have
been approved for production as well as variety of species are under

L., Caro, Y., & Fouillaud, M. (2017). Fungal Pigments: Deep into the
Rainbow of Colorful Fungi. Journal of Fungi, 3(3), 45.

This review
paper basically deals with natural and synthetic production of pigments and
their application in various fields. This is fast growing research area because
of advances in technology and requirement of natural based synthetic pigments.
Most common organism use for production are bacteria and fungi because they are
time and cost effective. Other systems such as plants can also be use but that
have negative impact. But still there are several issues that need to be
addressed related to bioproduction of bio-pigments.

Classification of pigments

Based on origin

on origin there are two major type of pigments



Natural pigments:

These are naturally produced by plants, animals,
bacteria and fungi through natural processes.

Synthetic pigments:

These pigments are produced in laborites either
through artificial system or through bacteria and fungi by fermentation

Based on chemical structure:

are two basic types


coordinated system

Conjugated systems:

These most common example of this system is
carotenoids and betalains.

Metal coordinated system:

Myoglobin is most common example of this system.

Based on FDA approval:

It includes

1.      Certifiable

2.      Non-certifiable


pigments that have FDA approval and mostly synthetic in nature.


pigment that can never get certification because they are natural and belong to



Distribution of natural pigments

1.      Tetrapyrrole Derivatives

2.      Isoprenoid Derivatives

3.      N-Heterocyclic Compounds

4.      Benzopyran Derivatives

5.      Quinones

6.      Melanin


These compounds consist of pyrrole ring and its example include
phytochrome that is common in cyclic compounds such as hemoglobin, porphyrin
is attach to iron atom. Tetrapyrrole derivates are more commonly found in chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is present in plants as well as in algae and most important
function of chlorophyll is photosynthesis.


It includes purines, pterins, flavins, phenazines, phenoxazines and
betalains. Purines that are major component of DNA and RNA. Growth factors are
pterins and most common pterins is folic acid. Flavins play a role in redox reaction.
Phenazines are most commonly present in bacteria and phenoxazines are present
in fungi and bacteria.


Flavonoids are most common to this group which are phenolic compounds and
break down into 13 different classes color and oxidation state. These are most
common to vascular plants and 5000 flavonoids have been structurally
classified. Anthocyanin is most common pigment belong to flavonoids. Flavanone
and flavonoid are other pigment in this family. They play role as antioxidants,
sexual process in plant, photoprotection, defense mechanism and other
ecological functions.


These are important coloring agent but only present in some higher
organism as well as some microorganisms and they major application in food
industry. They play role in redox reaction and have high reactivity. The most
important quinone is carminic acid. They also play role as cofactor in many


They are not considering as important pigment but have a role in
alkaloids synthesis and only present in higher plants.


Melanin are not important for growth but have a severely important
function in defense role. They are capable of suppressing tumors and

Colors play a great role in different applications number of patents has
also been increased over years. FDA has proper guidelines for approval of
different pigments especially use for food, medicine. FDA have strict policies
regarding licensing of pigment because some pigments are capable of causing
cancer and other serious threats.

 Delgado-Vargas, F., Jiménez, A. R., &
Paredes-López, O. (2000). Natural pigments: carotenoids, anthocyanins, and
betalains—characteristics, biosynthesis, processing, and stability. Critical
reviews in food science and nutrition, 40(3), 173-289.

Resources and
production of pigments:

o   The major natural resources of
pigments are

1.      Plants

2.      Animals

3.      Marine animals

4.      Fungi

5.      Bacteria

6.      Algae

o   The major synthetic resources of
pigments are

1.      Bacteria

2.      Fungi

3.      Yeast

4.      Mould

Kumar, A., Vishwakarma, H. S., Singh, J., Dwivedi, S., &
VARIOUS INDUSTRIES. International Journal of Pharmaceutical, Chemical
& Biological Sciences, 5(1).

Natural pigments and their production cycles

Plant pigments


It is major
photosynthetic pigment that is present in chloroplast. It has two major types chlorophyll
a and chlorophyll b. It has two basic chains that are linked to each other one
is phytyl side chain and other is non-isoprenoid porphyrin ring. So, it is also
known as prenyl pigment. In higher plants chlorophyll, a is major pigment and
chlorophyll b is accessory pigment but both have definite role in photosynthesis.
Chlorophyll is water insoluble pigment. Chlorophyll a is present in all plants.
Chlorophyll is majorly responsible for the photosynthesis. Chlorophyll a
function as a photo-enzyme and it is important organic compound. Another type
of chlorophyll that play a role in photosynthesis is accessory pigment chlorophyll
b. Chlorophyll a and b have similar structure with 4 pyrrole rings and joined by
CH bridges. Chlorophyll a and b have central atom that is heme group and magnesium.
Magnesium have catalytic role but its function is still unknown. Phytol ring is
most important because it allow the chloroplast to bind to other molecules in chloroplast.
Chlorophyll b is accessory pigment to chlorophyll a but differ from chlorophyll
a by side chain. Chlorophyll a has -CH3 while chlorophyll b has different
group. Chlorophyll a gives two bands. The one band is in blue-violet region
that is called soret region and is common to porphin. Other is red region that
is specific to chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is main light absorbing pigment because
without this absorption photosynthesis is not possible. In solution chlorophyll
b is blue green while chlorophyll a is yellowish green and this difference
narrow down green gap. Chlorophyll a play role in both reactions that is dark
or light reactions. It is primary donor in both photosystem I or II. Chlorophyll
b is most commonly present in photosystem II. Chlorophyll a and b both have their own importance because
without chlorophyll b, chlorophyll a cannot conduct photosynthesis. The system is
complex and coordinated so 

Proper understanding
requires to understand each and every 
factor alone and then move toward their relationship study.

Struck A. Cmiel E. Katheder I. a
Scheer H. Modifie reactio center fro Rhodobacter sphaeroides R26
bacteriochlorophyll wit modifie C- substituent a site B an B FEBS Leu., 268,
180 1990.



light is responsible for photochemical reactions but light amount received by
plants and animals depends on light intensity as well as exposure duration. Light
is important for growth. Photosynthesis is a process in which plant use carbon
dioxide, water and sun light and produce carbohydrate and it is anabolic
reaction. Photosynthesis take place in leaf and leaf have three basic type of tissues
that are epidermis, mesophyll and vascular bundles. Epidermis is a outer layer
that do not contain chloroplast. It has outer waxy layer that inhibit water
loss and its thickness vary specie to specie. Epidermis has small openings call
stomata that are responsible for transpiration and gas exchange. Upper epidermis
has more stomata than lower epidermis. Mesophyll are the house where
photosynthesis take place and these cells contain nucleus and cytoplasm. These cell
form parenchyma tissues and cell have basically have two parts that are
parenchyma palisade and spongy parenchyma. All mesophyll cell has chloroplast
but chloroplast is high in number in palisade. Vascular bundle includes xylem
and phloem that play role in conduction of water and food. These are present on
both upper and lower epidermis. Leaf traces connect the vascular bundle of stem
and leaves. Raw material for photosynthesis is carbon dioxide, water and light.
Atmosphere is source of carbon dioxide. Sun is source of light and plant have
pigment that absorb sun light and carryout photosynthesis.

Mishra, S. R. (2004). Photosynthesis in Plants. Discovery Publishing House.

Plant have different
organelles one of them is chloroplast that play a role in photosynthesis. Based
on chloroplast plant can be autotrophic or heterotrophic. Chloroplast has
several types depending on color that are leucoplast, chromoplast and chloroplast.
Chloroplast is most common to leaves but chromoplast is present in flowers.
Instead of these there are other types such as amyloplast and proteinoplast
that are storage products. Amyloplast store starch and starch is made up of
amylose and amylopectin. Proteins also accumulate in different forms in proteinoplast.
Lipids also store plastid and termed as elaiplast. Under specific conditions
chloroplast also store starch and named as chloroamyloplast. Chloroplast have
fully developed functional membrane but leucoplast and chromoplast lack fully
functional membranes. Plant vary based on C3 and C4 pathways. Monocotyledon and
dicotyledon have this C3 pathway and it take place in mesophyll. Chloroplast is
double membrane and space between two membranes allow the movement of
molecules. This gap lack chloroplast. Chloroplast also has stroma where dark
reaction occurs and has important enzymes. Chloroplast is self-replicating
organelle so have DNA and ribosomes. Ribosomes can be free and can attach to
chloroplast membrane. Light photosynthetic reaction occurs in chloroplast
membrane. Thylakoid membrane has different protein and enzymes that are
essential for photosynthesis. The photosystem II and electron transport chain
is specifically related to thylakoid membrane. Photosystem I is predominant in
stroma. Light absorbing pigment are major part of thylakoid membrane and in
higher plant these pigments are chlorophyll and carotenoid. Chlorophyll a is major
pigment and have different forms. The two most common forms are short
wavelength absorbing chlorophyll a that reside in photosystem II and other
absorb large wavelength that reside inside photosystem I. Chlorophyll b is a
supportive pigment and present in photosystem II. Carotenoids are also present
along with chlorophyll and play major role in photosynthesis. Carotenoids are
located inside thylakoid membrane. Other type of plants is those with C4
pathway and photosynthesis take place in mesophyll cells. C3 and C4 plant have
different chloroplast organization. C4 plants are divided into three different
group based on reaction catalyzing enzyme and these also vary in chloroplast organization.
Another class of plastid is chromoplast that do not contain chlorophyll but
have ability to store carotenoids. They impart color other than green that can
be red, yellow and orange. They do not dominantly express in leaves but give
color to fruits, flowers and vegetables. Chromoplast do not have fully develop
membrane system but can produce and store the carotenoids. Chromoplast vary in
size and shape and in intracellular properties. The chromoplast can be derive
from leukoplast and chloroplast. If chromoplast develop from the chlorophyll
then thylakoid membrane is degraded. There are different classes of chromoplast
but most common is globulous. Plastid die through programmed cell death called
as plastid senescence. All organs and organelles have their own time of death.
Leaf dies because of chlorophyll lack or absence of necessary proteins and
enzymes. Chlorosis is a condition in which plant lack the chlorophyll due to
any stress such nutrient deficiency. As the chlorophyll degraded, carotenoids
also degraded but as compared to chlorophyll, carotenoids are more stable.
Evergreen plants have plastid that at the end of vegetative year change into
chromoplast. There are plants that contain chloroplast for long years but
seasonal changes also occur in them. Tetrapyrrole are very important in
biochemical reactions and use in food industry as additive.


There are variety of
pathway for synthesis but two majors are shemin and beale pathway. Shemin
pathway along with plants also present in animals and bacteria. The substrate
for this reaction is succinyl-CoA and glycine and reaction is catalyzed by
multiple enzymes, one of them is ALA synthase and product is alpha-amino-beta-cetoadipic
acid. ALA-synthase is present in chloroplast. Beale pathway is multistep
process that occur in chloroplast with the substrate glutamate and
alpha-ketoglutarate. First of all, glutamyl-tRNA complex is formed that later
transformed into glutamate-I-semialdehyde that later transformed into sigma
ALA. ALA undergo several steps to form protoporphyrin. Firstly, ALA transformed
into porphobilinogen that then transform into uroporphyrinogen. In the presence
of several enzymes, uroporphyrinogen into coporphyrinogen that give the major
product protoporphyrogen. Protoporphyrin is transformed into
protochlorophyllide through insertion of iron and magnesium and then
esterification lead to formation of isocyclic ring and finally chlorophyll a is
formed. Chlorophyll a synthesize in the presence of light. However, chlorophyll
b synthesizes in dark from chlorophyll a.

Mohammad Pessarakli – 1996

The chlorophyll a and b have
structures differences. Chlorophyll a is C20 molecule that has phytol chain and
7-methyl. Chlorophyll a use as model for other chlorophyll structure
comparison. Chlorophyll b has 7-formyl instead of 7-methyl.

H Scheer – ?1991















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