Fungal polyketide azaphilone pigments as future natural food colorants?

Sameer Shamsuddin Mapari, Ulf Thrane, Anne S. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The recent approval of fungal carotenoids as food colorants by the European Union has strengthened the prospects for fungal cell factories for the production of polyketide pigments. Fungal production of colorants has the main advantage of making the manufacturer independent of the seasonal supply of raw materials, thus minimizing batch-to-batch variations. Here, we review the potential of polyketide pigments produced from chemotaxonomically selected non-toxigenic fungal strains (e.g. Penicillium and Epicoccum spp.) to serve as food colorants. We argue that the production of polyketide azaphilone pigments from such potentially safe hosts is advantageous over traditional processes that involve Monascus spp., which risks co-production of the mycotoxin citrinin. Thus, there is tremendous potential for the development of robust fungal production systems for polyketide pigments, both to tailor functionality and to expand the color palette of contemporary natural food colorants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)300-307
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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