Many microbes produce colour pigments due to secondary metabolites depending on the energy sources and surrounding environment. Examples include red colour produced by Penicillium miniolutem in Sabouraud broth, Rhizopus sp. in potato dextrose broth, purple by Penicillium vinaceum in Czapek Dox broth and brown in potato dextrose. This project is to understand fundamental aspects of developing colour from microbes as a replacement of synthetic colour. These microbial colour will dye ultrafine fibre particles which are derived from textile wastes, and these colour pigments will then be used for selected applications such as coloration of textile, leather and plastics. The project is significant for circular economy for using textile wastes for value addition and highly environmentally sustainable for production and use of sustainable chemical free pigments.
The aim of this research is to generate a new class of naturally derived pigments for use a colouring source. The project will carry out process optimization to produce consistent colour pigments and then study their applications The project will investigate the use of ultrafine particles derived from natural fibre wastes as a template and as an energy source for colour producing microbes. The high surface area of the particles and their chemical nature are likely to assist in microbial pigmentation process. The group has significant expertise in producing ultrafine particles from textile wastes using a scalable technology.