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The present review highlights the advantages of using natural colorant over the synthetic one. We have discussed the fermentation parameters that can enhance the productivity of Monascus pigment on agricultural wastes. Food industry is looking for natural colours because these can enhance the esthetic value, attractiveness, and acceptability of food while remaining nontoxic. Many synthetic food colours (Azorubine Carmoisine, quinoline) have been prohibited due to their toxicity and carcinogenicity. Increasing consumer awareness towards the food safety has forced the manufacturing industries to look for suitable alternatives. In addition to safety, natural colorants have been found to have nutritional and therapeutic significance. Among the natural colorants, microbial pigments can be considered as a viable option because of scalability, easier production, no seasonal dependence, cheaper raw materials and easier extraction. Fungi such as Monascus have a long history of safety and therefore can be used for production of biopigments. The present review summarizes the predicted biosynthetic pathways and pigment gene clusters in Monascus purpureus. The challenges faced during the pilot-scale production of Monascus biopigment and taming it by us of low-cost agro-industrial substrates for solid state fermentation has been suggested. Keeping in mind, therapeutic properties of Monascus pigments and their derivatives, they have huge potential for industrial and pharmaceutical application. Though the natural pigments have wide scope in the food industry. However, stabilization of pigment is the greatest challenge and attempts are being made to overcome this by complexion with hydrocolloids or metals and by microencapsulation. © 2021 Society for Applied Microbiology.


Vishu Chaudhary, Priya Katyal, Anuj Kumar Poonia, Jaspreet Kaur, Anil Kumar Puniya, Harsh Panwar. Natural pigment from Monascus: The production and therapeutic significance. Journal of applied microbiology. 2021 Sep 26

PMID: 34569683

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