Ayerim Hernández-Almanza1, Diana B. Muñiz-Márquez2, Orlando de la Rosa1, Victor Navarro1, Gloria Martínez-Medina1, Raúl Rodríguez-Herrera1, Cristóbal N. Aguilar1
1Autonomous University of Coahuila, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico;
2National Institute of Technology of Mexico, Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Nowadays, an epidemiologic transition has come about that consists of a pattern of changes in disease and mortality in the population, wherein the provenance of particular infection pathologies, neonatal diseases, nutritional deficiencies, among others, are reduced but at the same time the identification of disease groups, such as chronic nontransmissible disease (Valenzuela et al., 2014), including those that affect the circulatory system, neoplasic disease, diabetes, and obesity, is increasing. Therefore, currently there is a search for new strategies against these pathologies by way of the use of new bioactive compounds. Some bioactive compounds that may prevent diseases, such as cancer, atherosclerosis, cataracts, multiple sclerosis, and cardiovascular diseases, also have attributed to them an important role in lipid regulation and antioxidant and antiinflammatory activity, and, on the other hand, are commonly used in cosmetics as stabilizers and bulking agents (Cardenas-Toro et al., 2015; Patel and Goyal, 2011). Usually, these compounds that are found in nature, in plants, fruits, animals, and microorganisms, have been chemically synthesized, but the use of chemically synthesized bioactive compounds as food additives or in functional cosmetics has been severely regulated in recent years, which has increased interest in obtaining them from natural sources (Sun et al., 2016). However, due to the beneficial effects in human health, alternative ways of producing larger and more specific amounts have been developed, in which production using microbiologic techniques has an important role. Microorganisms, such as fungi, bacteria, yeast, and microalgae have been employed to produce molecules with added value, and bioprocesses in solid and SmF with application of agro-industrial waste has been evaluated. Employing microorganisms for the generation of added-value products seems to be an extremely relevant tool for the pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries, including complex material production, such as proteins, nucleic acids, polysaccharides, and even cells, and down to low-molecular weight molecules possessing biological activities, some of these compounds are synthesized in a natural way from a wide variety, including molecules such as pigments, oligosaccharides, and bioactive peptides (Demain, 2000a). Nevertheless, the development of methodologies to recover, purify, and increase yields is necessary. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the microbial production of pigments, their types and characterization, coloring properties, and applications, as well as the microbial production of oligosaccharides and bioactive peptides, recent studies, bioengineering aspects, chemical and physical characteristics, and industrial applications.