Journal of Biological Engineering (Mar 2021)

Biotechnological Activities and Applications of Bacterial Pigments Violacein and Prodigiosin

  • Seong Yeol Choi,
  • Sungbin Lim,
  • Kyoung-hye Yoon,
  • Jin I. Lee,
  • Robert J. Mitchell

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15, no. 1
pp. 1 – 16


Read online

Abstract In this review, we discuss violacein and prodigiosin, two chromogenic bacterial secondary metabolites that have diverse biological activities. Although both compounds were “discovered” more than seven decades ago, interest into their biological applications has grown in the last two decades, particularly driven by their antimicrobial and anticancer properties. These topics will be discussed in the first half of this review. The latter half delves into the current efforts of groups to produce these two compounds. This includes in both their native bacterial hosts and heterogeneously in other bacterial hosts, including discussing some of the caveats related to the yields reported in the literature, and some of the synthetic biology techniques employed in this pursuit.