Monascus pigment production by solid-state fermentation with corn cob substrate

Palanivel Velmurugan, Hyun Hur, Vellingiri Balachandar, Seralathan Kamala-Kannan, Kui Jae Lee, Sang Myung Lee, Jong Chan Chae, Patrick J. Shea, Byung Taek Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-594
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bioscience and Bioengineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Corn cob substrate
  • Monascus purpureus
  • N-Acetyl glucosamine
  • Natural pigments
  • Solid-state fermentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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