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Fungal Pigments:

The dye stuff companies are trying to raise the costs of feedstock and
energy for dye synthesis. They are also trying to increase pressure to minimize
the damage to the environment. The industries are continuously looking for less
expensive, more environmentally friendly routes for known dyes. Fungi and are
known to produce certain types of dyes and their chemical nature is also known.
Along with cytotoxicity these pigments exhibit several biological activities.
EC and in USA do authorize these synthetic pigments.More than 500 molecular
family of carotenoid have been found since yet. About 200 carotenogenic fungal
species have been described so far. Basidiomycetes and Deuteromycetes carry
?-Carotene as major pigment along with xanthophylls. A universal role of
carotenoids could be that of a protective action against lethal
photooxidations; however, it is still an open question. Recently the
antioxidant activity of carotenoids, mutagenesis inhibition, immune response
enhancement, and tumor development inhibition has been detected. Hypericin4 and
as hypericin-like molecules act as photo-sensitizing pigments, that are found
in microbial species. The riboflavin is most important flavin compounds
produced by microorganisms as well as by fungal species. Quinones are also the
fungal pigments that display an array of colors: yellow, orange, or red
according to the position of the keto groups. In fungi, the naphthoquinone
pigments are very common and have been the subject, not only in the research of
their chemical structure, but also into their biosynthesis and biological
significance. Fusarium solani is a fungal specie and it is source of
Naphthoquinone pigments that is related to the fusarubin. Monascus pigment is a
water-soluble pigments, this pigment have a great biotechnological interest.
Monascus is a typical Ascomycete that produces a cleistothecium, a closed
fruiting body containing eight ascospores and reproduces asexually by the
formation of conidiospores and a vegetative mycelium. The pigments may appears
both in the mycelium and in the fermentation broth. Microbial pigments having
no defined function, so they should be classified as secondary metabolites.
Basidiomycetes are used for the phenoloxidase system that results in the
formation of melanin. The biological significance of melanin is to provide
resistance against the harsh environmental condition. A protective role in
desiccation and irradiation has also been suggested, where melanin deposited in
the cell wall may act as a shield against immunologically active cells.

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As food addictives, 43 pigments are authorized by the Council of the
European Union. 16 out of these 43 are originated from plant sources. Two
categories of these pigments are used legally:

color additives

exempt from certification

 The knowledge of some pigment’s
distribution, availability and properties is limited in USA, these pigments
include turmeric oloeresin, annatto extract, paprika oleoresin, ?-carotene,
cochineal extract, vegetable and fruit juices, grape skin extract, caramel
color, and titanium dioxide. By knowing the drawbacks of commercial plants food
colorants that are instability to light, heat, and pH, authorities in the area
of food product development are seeking for alternatives. In 1994, the international
natural colorant market was valued at USD 250 million, with the USA accounting
for USD 125 million of the market. The natural food colorant industry is
experiencing annual growth rates of about 10%.

 There are some international
leading operating suppliers of natural pigments:

Hansen’s Lab. in Dennmark

Europe Ltd. In UK

Inc. in USA

Interational in The Netherlands

 Despite of higher plants, single
cell algae and fungi can be grown using existing culture techniques, so they
are more suitable for biotechnological production. Fungi are likely to be the
most appropriate source of new pigments.


Characterization of the fungal pigments is necessary to identify their
structure and eventually to know their function, these characterization
techniques could be column chromatography, UV or IR, NMR, pyrolytic gas
chromatography and gas chromatography. Some examples of charachterization of
fungal pigments along with their fungal sources are listed below.



Durán, N., Teixeira, M. F., De Conti, R., &
Esposito, E. (2002). Ecological-friendly pigments from fungi. Critical
reviews in food science and nutrition, 42(1), 53-66.

Developing fungal pigments for “painting” vascular plants

Sara C. Robinson

Received: 19 October 2011 /Revised: 18 December 2011 /Accepted: 20
December 2011 /Published online: 13 January 2012 # Springer-Verlag 2012


Algal Pigments:

All algae contain photosynthetic pigments. These are conventionally an
integral part of the structure of the chloroplast lamellae, but sometimes, as
in bluegreen algae, they are homogeneously distributed throughout that
component of the protoplasm called the “chromatoplasm”. Pigments are molecules
which absorb light. The most efficient organic pigments have a molecular
absorption which is one or two orders of magnitude more preponderant than that
of the inorganic pigments like cobalt blue, cinnabar, chrome yellow, which are
utilized as paints.

Many pigments have a characteristic molecular structure of long carbon
chains or closed rings linked by soi-disant “conjugated” double bonds. These
bonds are concretely stable because they involve “resonance”, a situation where
two or more molecular configurations can subsist simultaneously. Benzene for
example “resonates” between the classical structures. The simple heterocyclic
pyrrole ring: is one of the rudimental building units of many organic and
biochemical pigments. In photosynthetic cells the most commonly occurring
pigment is chlorophyll a. The only exceptions are the photosynthetic bacteria
which have bacteriochlorophyll (BChl). Chlorophyll a is present in brown, green
and bluegreen algae and in higher plants. Its yellow-green colour may be masked
by colours of other pigments. 235 function as the photoenzyme, albeit final
proof is destitute. All other pigments seems to accommodate solely as
physical-energy suppliers. Pigments other than chlorophyll a are called adjunct
pigments. Green algae contain, in additament to chlorophyll a, the blue-green
chlorophyll b. Diatoms and brown algae contain chlorophyll c, a partially
oxidised derivate of chlorophyll a, but without the phytol chain. pyrrole
rings, joined into a single master ring by CH bridges. The porphyrin structure is
cognate to that of the bilin pigments. Bacteriochlorophyll is cognate to
tetrahydroporphyrin, having two fewer bonds and thus four more hydrogen atoms
than porphyrin. Structure of chlorophyll and its relationship bacteriophyll is
shown in table below.



The centre of the molecule is a magnesium atom, homogeneous to the
ferrous iron in the haem molecule. The function of magnesium is probably
different: the ferrous haem molecule conveys oxygen, whereas the chlorophyll
molecule conveys energy. It may be that the presence of a felicitous central
metal atom accommodates to stabilize

There are two Structure of bilin pigments.



In living cells the chlorophylls are bound to protein-lipid complexes
just as most enzymes are. Extraction of the pigments by organic solvents such
as acetone dissevers the chlorophylls from the proteins and has a considerable
influence on their structure. Bacteriochlorophyll for example, which has three
absorption bands at 800, 850 and 890 nm in vivo, shows only one band at 770 nm
after it has been extracted by organic solvents.

It may be that in vivo three separate complexes are composed with three
proteins or that three different aggregation stages subsist. Chlorophyll a in
green algae shows a kindred but less conspicuous polymorphism All
photosynthetic cells contain, in integration to one or more chlorophyll
pigments, an assortment of carotenoids. These are pigments cognate to that
found in the root of the carrot plant. The sensitive replication of the pigment
ratio to nutrient depletion and supply makes it a utilizable parameter in the
assessment of magnification-circumscribing factors. High values of A430/A665
may thus reflect high species diversity or stress due to nutrient depletion. In
alcohol extracts of green algae values between 1.8 and 2.0 are commonly found.
The blue-green alga gave the dihydrogen monoxide a rather pink appearance and
caused us to suppose that the lake contained purple bacteria.

Photosynthesising bacteria withal contain photosynthetic units, but the
number of pigment molecules per unit is more diminutive than in green plants:
about 50 out of 300. This may be cognate to the more minute amount of energy
needed to split H2S. The number of pigment molecules per photosynthetic unit is
a species characteristic for mundane, salubrious cells. It seems likely that
the adaptation of algal cells to low irradiance by incrementing the chlorophyll
content is cognate to the size of the photosynthetic unit, albeit the
ecological consequentiality of this has not yet been studied.


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