3 Biotech

, 8:207 | Cite as

Therapeutic applications of bacterial pigments: a review of current status and future opportunities

  • Muhammad Numan
  • Samina Bashir
  • Roqayya Mumtaz
  • Sibgha Tayyab
  • Najeeb Ur Rehman
  • Abdul Latif Khan
  • Zabta Khan Shinwari
  • Ahmed Al-Harrasi
Review Article


Non-toxicity, biodegradability and non-carcinogenicity of the natural pigments, dyes and colorants make them an attractive source for human use. Bacterial pigments are colored metabolites secreted by bacteria under stress. The industrial uses of bacterial pigments have increased many folds because of several advantages over the synthetic pigments. Among natural resources, bacterial pigments are mostly preferred because of simple culturing and pigment extraction techniques, scaling up and being time economical. Generally, the bacterial pigments are safe for human use and therefore have a wide range of applications in pharmaceutical, textile, cosmetics and food industries. Therapeutic nature of the bacterial pigments is revealed because of their antimicrobial, anticancer, cytotoxic and remarkable antioxidant properties. Owing to the importance of bacterial pigments it was considered important to produce a comprehensive review of literature on the therapeutic and industrial potential of bacterial pigments. Extensive literature has been reviewed on the biomedical application of bacterial pigments while further opportunities and future challenges have been discussed.


Bacteria Natural pigments Antibacterial Anticancer Antileishmania Antioxidant 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.UoN Chair of Oman’s Medicinal Plants and Marine Natural Products, University of Nizwa, Nizwa-616, Sultanate of OmanNizwaOman
  3. 3.Qarshi UniversityLahorePakistan

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