Natural Resources, School of


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Published in Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering 112:6 (December 2011), pp. 590–594; doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2011.08.009


Copyright © 2011 The Society for Biotechnology, Japan. Published by Elsevier B.V. Used by permission.


Natural pigments are an important alternative to potentially harmful synthetic dyes. We investigated the feasibility of corn cob powder as a substrate for production of pigments by Monascus purpureus KACC 42430 in solid-state fermentation. A pigment yield of 25.42 OD Units/gram of dry fermented substrate was achieved with corn cob powder and optimized process parameters, including 60% (w/w) initial moisture content, incubation at 30°C, inoculation with 4 mL of spores/gram of dry substrate, and an incubation period of 7 days. Pigment yield using corn cobs greatly exceeded those of most other agricultural waste substrates. The pigments were stable at acidic pH, high temperatures, and in salt solutions; all important considerations for industrial applications. Our results indicate the viability of corn cob substrate in combination with M. purpureus for industrial applications.