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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Feb 26;51(5):1302-6.

Color characteristics of monascus pigments derived by fermentation with various amino acids.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, College of Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, South Korea.


Various pigment colors were produced by Monascus fermentations with separate addition of 20 amino acids. The color characteristics and structures of the pigment derivatives were investigated. When each amino acid was added to the fermentation broth as a precursor, pigment extracts with different hue and chroma values were obtained depending on the content ratios of yellow, orange, and red colors in the fermentation broth. The yellow and orange pigments were identical regardless of amino acid addition. The red compounds varied on the basis of the type of amino acid added. LC-MS and (1)H and (13)C NMR structural analyses confirmed that the derivative pigments contained the moieties of the added amino acids. L, a, and b values of the CIELAB color system for the derivative pigments were measured. Values of hue and chroma were then calculated. The colors of the derivative pigments were in the range of orangish red to violet red. The hydrophilicities/hydrophobicities of the derivative pigments could be predicted from their log P values, which were estimated using computer programs.

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