Sie sind auf Seite 1von 7


Sci (2015) 4(7): 688-694

ISSN: 2319-7706 Volume 4 Number 7 (2015) pp. 688-694

Review Article
Biocolors: The New Generation Additives

Manisha Parmar1* and Urmila Gupta Phutela2

Department of Microbiology, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities,
Punjab Agricultural, University, Ludhiana-141004, India
School of Energy Studies for Agriculture, College of Agricultural Engineering and
Technology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141004, India
*Corresponding author


Keywords Biocolorants are those colouring agents, which are obtained from the biological
sources. Biocolours can be classified into three main classes: natural colours,
Biocolour, browning colours and additives. There are various microbial sources of biocolour
Natural as carotene production by a pigmented strain of bacterium Bacillus sp., carotenoid
pigments, Astaxanthin produced by yeast Phaffia xhodoxyma which are considered as an
Microorganisms, important source of the natural pigment for colouring foods. Biocolours as additive
Additive in can be used in various industries as in pharmaceutical industry, textile industry,
industries, dairy industry etc. Technological limitations are the major bottleneck for the
Colour extraction commercial exploitation of the microbes for biocolour production while designing
of proper bioreactors would help to ease out the situation.


Colour is one of the most important qualities foods are very limited and there is difficulty
of foods. In the past, consumers did not care in getting approval for new sources for the
about the kind of pigments used in food reason that the U.S. Food and Drug
colouring (natural or synthetic). But with Administration (FDA) considers the
reference to food colorants recently there is pigments as additives and consequently
an aversion towards synthetic pigments pigments are under strict regulations
owing to the belief such as "synthetic (Wissgot and Bortlik, 1996; Wodicka,
pigments are associated with several 1996). Recently there have been changes in
illnesses" and "natural pigments have the legislation also causing a significant
pharmacological benefits" (Clydesdale, reduction in number of synthetic colours
1993). Natural organic pigments are used in foods (Downham and Collins, 2000).
generally extracted from fruits, vegetables,
seeds, roots and microorganisms and they According to a study on dyes and organic
are sometimes called biocolours because of pigments, the worldwide demand for organic
their biological origin (Pattnaik et al., 1997). colorants is projected to increase from 4.9 %
Biocolours that are permitted for human in 2003 to $10.6 billion in 2008. Future

Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(7): 688-694

growth is going to be large for naturally body to vitamin A and has antioxidant
derived colours with a predicted annual properties. It has a beneficial effect in
growth rate of 5-10 %. Synthetic colours are reducing the risk of some cancers and
still forecast to grow but at a lower rate of perhaps heart diseases. It can be produced
between 3 and 5 % (Downham and Collins, commercially using microorganisms like
2000). Dunaliella salina and Blakeslea trispora.

The demand for food colour in global 2. Browning colours: These are produced
market in 2000 was 2400 MT which during cooking and processing and thus may
increased to 3000 MT by the year 2005 and not be of any direct importance in foods. For
further to increase to 8000 MT by the year e.g., as produced during sugar
2010 and is expected to increase to 15000 caramelization, baking etc.
MT by the year 2015 (Lakshmi, 2014). The
investment in natural food colour market 3. Additives: Food additive colours are
across the globe has touched to US $ 1 based on anthocyanins derived from sources
billion and is continuously growing as there such as red grapes or beet but the first
is demand for natural food colours against additive colour were synthetic dyes which
synthetic food colours (Magoulas, 2009). were extensively used as food colorants in
Because of consumer s choice for natural nineteenth century and early 1900 s.
food processing industry and have Anthocyanins are polyphenolic group of
contributed to the increase in natural colour compounds which have been named
market significantly (Ree, 2006). Vitamins of the 21 st Century due to
their impressive medical and health benefits.
Only few natural pigments are available in
sufficient quantities to be useful for industry Applications of biocolours as additives:
because they are usually extracted from There are various applications of Biocolours
plants (Lauro, 1991). But there is an ever in different industries as described below:
growing interest in microbial pigments due
to several reasons like their natural character A. Pharmaceutical industry: Hepatitis C
and safety to use, production being virus (HCV) infects approximately 170
independent of seasons and geographical million people worldwide, and is often
conditions, controllable and predictable associated with chronic hepatitis, leading to
yield (Francis, 1987). liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma
(Brown, 2005). Currently, interferon (IFN)
Classification: Biocolours can be classified and the nucleoside analogue ribavirin are
into three main classes (Sharma, 2014). used as the standard therapy to treat chronic
HCV infection. However, IFN- alone or in
1. Natural colours: The principal natural combination with ribavirin often leads to a
colours used as additives are the green range of side effects.
pigment chlorophyll, the carotenoids which
give yellow to red colours and the The 65 kDa HCV NS5B protein has RNA-
flavonoids with their principal subclass the dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity
anthocyanins, which impart red to blue and is key player in HCV RNA replication.
colours to flowers and fruits. In recent years, Moncascus purpureus produces pigments
there has been much interest in carotenoids, that are responsible for inhibiting hepatitis C
especially -carotene as it is converted in the virus replication by interfering with viral

Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(7): 688-694

RNA polymerase activity (Sun et al., 2011). Commercially available products of

A group of Monascus orange pigment astaxanthin (carotenoid) rich yeast Phafia
(MOP) derivatives effectively inhibited rhodozyma and fermentation product of
NS5B RdRp activity and interfered with the Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous has been
mevalonate synthesis pathway, thereby widely used. Microalgae Chlorella vulgaris
suppressing HCV replication in cells. A imparts yellow blue hues, yielding both
double-hit strategy, including inhibition of muscle and skin pigmentation effects.
HCV RdRp activity and interference with
the mevalonate synthetic pathway, to inhibit D. Textile industry: The textile industry
HCV amplification may provide the basis discharges large proportion of effluent that
for successful antiviral therapy using the mainly consists of synthetic dyes. Synthetic
MOP AADs derived from this microbial dyes have been extensively used in the
secondary metabolite. textile industries due to their ease and cost
effectiveness in synthesis, high stability
B. Dairy industry: Among the various towards light, temperature and technically
pigment-producing microorganisms, advanced colours covering the whole colour
Monascus sp. is reported to produce non- spectrum. However, these synthetic dyes are
toxic pigments, which can be used as food often toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic
colorant. Besides a colouring agent it leading to several human health problems
enhances the flavour of the food and acts a such as skin cancer and allergic reactions
food preservative. Monascus ruber has been (Srikanlayanukul et al., 2006; Gurav et al.,
used widely in the preparation of flavoured 2011). Thus, the worldwide demand for the
milk by utilization of rice carbohydrate for dyes of natural origin is increasing rapidly in
its metabolism and production of secondary the textile industry.
metabolite namely pigment. Red, orange and
yellow pigments are produced using solid- E. Printing industry: It has become
state fermentation and rice broken as a important to reuse and recycle used papers
substrate. Monascus Fermented Rice (MFR) in offices, etc. for the purpose of the
1.2 % is used in the preparation of flavoured conservation of forest resources and
milk (Vidyalakshmi et al., 2009). reduction of wastes. Reuse of papers in
offices is preferable, but it requires that
C. Fish industry: Aquaculture is a rapidly letters and images easily disappear from
growing global industry, comprising printed papers. Decolorable ink for inkjet
cultivation of various freshwater and marine printing contains a Monascus pigment. The
species of finfish, shellfish, molluscs and Monascus pigments are easily discoloured
ornamental fish (Garcia and Maurilio, and finally lose their colours by the
2013). Pigmentation is one of the important irradiation of visible and/or ultraviolet light.
quality attributes of the aquatic animal for (Tsuyoshi et al., 2004)
consumer acceptability. As fishes cannot
synthesize their own colouring pigments de Methods of extraction of pigments:
novo, the colouring agents which are Solvent extraction is the conventional
synthesized by some plants, algae and method that is followed to extract colours.
microorganisms, need to be incorporated in Anthocyanin and betalain pigments, which
the diet (Johnson and An, 1991). Most are water soluble, are extracted from the raw
promising pigment proved to be successful material with water and sometimes with
in enhancing skin colour is Astaxanthin. aqueous methanol.

Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(7): 688-694

Table.1 Salient features of some important biocolours


-carotene Dunaliella salina, Yellow to orange It is sparingly oil soluble andcomprises of all the trans isomers and
Euglena, Blakeslea depending upon colour possesses pro vitamin A activity
trispora formulations

Astaxanthins Haematococcus Orange pink to red Astaxanthin belong to the Carotenoids family. Astaxanthin can
pluvialis protect against chemically induced cancers and is very strong

Phycobiliproteins Algae belonging to Red and blue These have good long term stability when stored refrigerated (2-
Rhodophyta and 5°C) as ammonium sulphate precipitates. These are relatively
Chlorophyta stable at room temperature and neutral pH.

Monascus pigments Monascus purpureus Yellow, orange and red Pigment production and quality is good when the organism is
and M. anka provided with carbon source such as maltose, fructose and glucose
and yeast extracts as nitrogen source. Pigments are stable to pH
change in temperatures.

Fig.1 Percentage market share of food colorants

Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(7): 688-694

For carotenoids extraction, hexane is the 4. Enzymatic extraction: Enzyme assisted

solvent of choice. After thorough extraction, extraction of pigments is another new
the extract is concentrated and subjected to technology. Enzyme pre-treatment cannot be
purification steps by using column a complete substitute for conventional
chromatography. Identification and solvent extraction, but can result in
quantification of the pigment is performed increased yield of value added cell
by spectrophotometry or by high pressure components and a reduction in time of
liquid chromatography (Naidu and extraction and amount of solvent
Sowbhagya, 2012). consumption (Rodriguez et al., 2001).

The current advance techniques followed 5. Membrane technology: Membrane

in colour extraction are as follows: processing is a fast and emerging technique
for the concentration and separation of
1. High Hydrostatic Pressure (HHP) and macro and micro molecules based on
Pulsed Electric Field (PEF): These molecular size and shape in biotechnology
methods are environment friendly and and food processing industries (Downham
energy efficient technologies that enhance and Collins, 2001). Advantages of
mass transfer processes within cellular membrane processing are many which
tissues, as the permeability of cytoplasmic include improved product quality with
membranes can be increased which in turn higher yield, utilization of by products,
enhances extraction of valuable cell temperature and pH sensitive products can
components. PEF is reported to be an ideal easily be extracted without alteration and
method to enhance juice production, lastly is environmental friendly as no
increase the extraction of valuable harmful chemicals are being used and less
components better than the yields obtained energy is consumed. (Spence et al.,2010).
by enzymatic maceration (Mason and Zhao,
1994). Future prospects: A giant leap forward in
colour production could be achieved by
2. Sonication-assisted extraction: It is one combining genetic manipulation and
of the most commonly used methods to fermentation. Technological limitations are
enhance mass transfer phenomena by the major bottleneck for the commercial
cavitation forces, where bubbles in the exploitation of the microbes for biocolour
liquid/solid extraction can explosively production and designing of proper
collapse and generate localized pressure, bioreactors would help to ease out the
causing plant tissue rupture and improving situation.
the release of intracellular substances into
the solvent. (Nayak et al., 2007). References

3. Gamma irradiation: Gamma-irradiation, Brown, R. 2005. Hepatitis C and liver

as a pre-treatment to a plant material, transplantation. Nature. 436(6): 973
increases cell wall permeabilization, 978.
resulting in enhanced extraction of cell Clydesdale, F. 1993. Color as a factor in
constituents in higher yield (Sowbhagya and food choice. Critical Reviews in
Chitra, 2010). Food Science and Nutrition.
331(12): 83 101.

Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(7): 688-694

Downham, A., and Collins, P. 2000. Nayak, C., Suguna, K., Chethana, S.,
Colouring our foods in the last and Narasimhamurthy, K., and Rastogi,
next millennium International N. 2007. Enhanced mass transfer
Journal of Food Science and during solid liquid extraction of
Technology. 35(1): 5 22. gamma-irradiated red beetroot.
Downham, A., and Collins, P. 2001. Journal Food Engineering. 79 (3):
Coloring of our foods in last and 765.
next millennium. International Nerurkara, M., Vaidyanathan, J.,
Journal of Food Science and Adivarekara, R., and Langdanab, Z.
Technology. 35(1): 34-36. 2013. Use of a natural dye from
Francis, F. 1987. Lesser-known food Serratia marcescens subspecies
colorants. Food Technology. 41: 62 marcescens in dyeing of textile
68. fabrics. Octa Journal Of
Garcia, M., and Maurilio, L. 2013. The use Environmental Research. 1(2): 129-
of carotenoid in aquaculture. 135.
Research Journal of Fisheries and Pattnaik, P., Roy, U., and Jain P. 1997.
Hydrobiology. 8(2): 38-49. Biocolours: New Generation
Gurav, A., Ghosh, J., and Girish, K. 2011. Additives for Food. Indian Food
Decolourization of anthroquinone Industry. 16(5): 21-32.
based dye Vat Red 10 by Ree, E. 2006. Opinion of the Scientific
Pseudomonas desmolyticum NCIM Panel on Food Additives,
2112 and Galactomyces geotrichum Flavourings, Processing Aids and
MTCC 1360. International Journal Materials in Contact with Food on a
for Biotechnology and Molecular request from the Commission related
Biology Research. 2(6): 93-97. to Lutein for use in foods for
Johnson, E., and An, G. 1991. Astaxanthin particular nutritional uses. The EFSA
from microbial sources. Critical Journal. 315: 1.
Reviews of Biotechnology. 11: 297- Rodriguez, S., Giusti, L., Durst, R., and
326. Wrolstad, R. 2001. Development and
Lakshmi, C. 2014. Food Coloring: The process optimization of red raddish
Natural Way. Research Journal of concentrate extract as potential
Chemical Sciences. 4(2): 87-96. natural red colorant. Journal of Food
Lauro, G. 1991. A primer on natural colors. Processing Preservation. 25: 165.
Cereal Foods World. 36. 949 953. Sharma, D. 2014. Understanding Biocolour-
Magoulas, C. 2009. How color affect food A Review. International Journal of
choices. Thesis, University of Scientific and Technology Research.
Nevada. 3(1): 294-299.
Mason, T., and Zhao Y. 1994. Enhancement Sowbhagya, H., and Chitra V. 2010.
of ultra sonication cavitation yield by Extraction of flavourings and
multi frequency sonication. colorants from plant materials.
Ultrasonics Sonochemistry. 29(5): Critical Reviews in Food Science
567. and Nutrition. 50(2): 146-148.
Naidu, M., and Sowbhagya, H. 2012. Spence., Levitan., Shankar., and Zampini.
Technological Advances in Food 2010. The multi sensory perception
Colors. Chemical Industry Digest. of flavour.

Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(7): 688-694 23(9):
Srikanlayanukul, M., Chartchai, K., and
Saisamorn, L. 2006. Decolourization
of Textile wastewater by
immobilized Coriolus versicolour
RC3 in Repeated-Batch System with
the effect of Sugar Addition. CMU
Journal. 5(3): 301-306.
Sun, J., Kim, J., Kim, G., Rhee, K., Jung,
H., Jeun, J., Seung-Hoon Lee., and
Soo, C. 2011. Inhibition of hepatitis
C virus replication by Monascus
pigment derivatives that interfere
with viral RNA polymerase activity
and the mevalonate biosynthesis
pathway. Journal of Antimicrobial
Tsuyoshi, N., Fudou, R., Yamanaka, S.,
Furunaga, T., Sato, K., and Kondo
Y. 2004. Decolouring ink for ink jet
printing and ink jet printing method
using it. Patent US20040150702A1.
Vidyalakshmi, R., Paranthaman, R.,
Murugesh, S., and Singaravadivel K.
2009. Microbial Bioconversion of
Rice Broken to Food Grade
Pigments Global Journal of
Biotechnology and Biochemistry 4
(2): 84-87.
Wissgot, U., and Bortlik, K. 1996. Prospects
for new food colorants. Trends in
Food Science and Technology. 7:
298 302.
Wodicka, V. 1996. Regulation of food:
where have we been? Food
Technology. 50(3): 106 109.