Biotechnological approaches for the production of natural colorants by Talaromyces/Penicillium: A review


Lourdes Morales-Oyervides1,2, Juan Pablo Ruiz-Sánchez2, Jorge C. Oliveira1, María Jose Sousa-Gallagher1, Alejandro Méndez-Zavala1, Daniele Giuffrida3, Laurent Dufossé4, Julio Montañez*2

1School of Engineering, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
2Department of Chemical Engineering, Autonomous University of Coahuila, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico
3Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Odontoiatriche e delle Immagini Morfologiche e Funzionali, University of Messina, Messina, Italy
4Chimie et Biotechnologie des Produits Naturels & ESIROI Agroalimentaire, Université de la Réunion, Ile de la Réunion, France



There has been an increased interest in replacing synthetic colorants by colorants obtained from natural sources, especially microbial pigments. Monascus pigments have been used as natural colorings and food additives in Asia for centuries but have raised toxicity issues. Recently, Talaromyces/Penicillium species have been recognized as potential strains to produce natural pigments similar to those produced by Monascus species. To date, it has not been published a literature compilation about the research and development activity of Talaromyces/Penicillium pigments. Developing a new bioprocess requires several steps, from an initial concept to a practical and feasible application. Industrial applications of fungal pigments will depend on: (i) characterization of the molecules to assure a safe consumption, (ii) stability of the pigments to the processing conditions required by the products where they will be incorporated, (iii) optimizing process conditions to achieve high yields, iv) implementing an efficient product recovery and (v) scale-up of the bioprocess. The above aspects have been reviewed in detail to evaluate the feasibility of reaching a commercial scale of the pigments produced by Talaromyces/Penicillium. Finally, the biological activities of the pigments and their potential applications are discussed.