Exploring Monascus sanguineus as a potential natural source for pigment production
by Rashmi Dikshit
Monascus species are known as producers of bio-pigments, which are used for food coloring. For this study, a Monascus sanguineus strain was isolated from pomegranate. Its molecular identification was done by genome sequencing. The effect of different culture media, temperature, and pH on pigment production and mycelial growth was investigated in submerged culture. Production of the red pigment reached its maximum on the 16th day of incubation (21.9 Color Value Units (CVU)/ml). The optimal temperature for microbial growth and pigment production was 30°C and the maximum pigmentation was observed at pH 6.5 (33.9 CVU/ gram dry substrate (gds). Effect of different solid substrates with varied carbon and nitrogen content on pigment production and optimization was also investigated. Oryza sp. (local polished rice) was found to be the best solid substrate (7.8 CVU/gds) amongst the experimented substrates. The determination of citrinin was carried out by liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry (LC-MS).