Synthetic biology and biocolours

Mervi Toivari, Satu Hilditch, Géza Szilvay, Manuel Arias Barrantes, István Molnár, Merja Penttilä

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Synthetic biology is accelerating genetic engineering of microbes to produce desired compounds. Currently, there is lot of interest in using synthetic biology for microbial colourant production frombasic science to start-up companies. Because of their contained and year-around cultivation, microbes provide a promising system for future colour production. Synthetic biology has already been used to engineer various microbes for the production of colourants. Here, the potential and possibilities of synthetic biology are highlighted with examples such as Tyrian purple, the “royal violet”; the Monascus pigments used for food colouring; and the combination of the production of various materials and colourants in the same microbe. We also discuss synthetic biology and colourants in the context of art and design, and provide a future outlook for the field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiocolours: Sustainable stories from nature, lab and industry
EditorsKirsi Niinimäki, Julia Lohmann
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherAalto University
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-64-1205-4
ISBN (Print)978-952-64-1204-7
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA3 Book section, Chapters in research books


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