Microbial fermentation for large-scale production of purple pigment
Octarine Bio, a Danish bio-based ingredients manufacturer, has joined forces with Ginkgo Bioworks, a US cell programming company, to engineer a strain capable of producing violacein and its derivatives, a purple pigment, through microbial fermentation.

The partnership aims to utilize enzymatic derivatization and strain engineering expertise to achieve enhanced production levels and superior properties of the colours. Violacein, a naturally occurring bis-indole pigment with a deep purple hue, exhibits bioactive characteristics such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, and UV-protective properties.

Although initially targeting the textile industry, the partnership acknowledges the potential for food applications and is exploring various possibilities in the food and beverage sector. The synthetic biology-derived pigment's entry into the European food and beverage market would require pre-market authorization from the European Food Safety Authority.

While the collaboration currently focuses on violacein, there is potential for expansion to other tryptophan-derived compounds. The partnership presents an opportunity for Octarine Bio to introduce bioactive colours and dyes that address consumer demands for safer, healthier, and more sustainable alternatives in the growing market for natural colours.

The collaboration between Octarine Bio and Ginkgo Bioworks marks another instance of microbial fermentation-derived natural colour development, following Ginkgo Bioworks' previous partnership with Phytolon to produce vibrant cultured food colours through yeast fermentation in the yellow-to-purple spectrum.


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