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A novel medium for the enhanced cell growth and production of prodigiosin from Serratia marcescens isolated from soil

Anuradha V Giri, Nandini Anandkumar, Geetha Muthukumaran and Gautam Pennathur*

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Centre for Biotechnology, Anna University, Chennai 600025, India

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Citation and License

BMC Microbiology 2004, 4:11  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-4-11

Published: 18 March 2004



Prodigiosin produced by Serratia marcescens is a promising drug owing to its reported characteristics of having antifungal, immunosuppressive and antiproliferative activity. From an industrial point of view the necessity to obtain a suitable medium to simultaneously enhance the growth of Serratia marcescens and the pigment production was the aim of this work. The usage of individual fatty acid as substrate in industries would be cost-effective in the long run and this paved the way for us to try the effect of different fatty acid-containing seeds and oils of peanut, sesame and coconut as source of substrate.


The addition of sugars only showed slight enhancement of prodigiosin production in nutrient broth but not in fatty acid containing seed medium. The powdered peanut broth had supported better growth of Serratia marcescens and higher yield of prodigiosin when compared with the existing nutrient broth and peptone glycerol broth. A block in prodigiosin production was seen above 30°C in nutrient broth, but the fatty acid seed medium used by us supported prodigiosin production upto 42°C though the yields were lower than what was obtained at 28°C. From the results, the fatty acid form of carbon source has a role to play in enhanced cell growth and prodigiosin production.


We conclude by reporting that the powdered and sieved peanut seed of different quality grades were consistent in yielding a fourty fold increase in prodigiosin production over the existing media. A literature survey on the composition of the different media components in nutrient broth, peptone glycerol broth and the fatty acid containing seeds and oils enabled us to propose that the saturated form of fatty acid has a role to play in enhanced cell growth and prodigiosin production. This work has also enabled us to report that the temperature related block of prodigiosin biosynthesis varies with different media and the powdered peanut broth supports prodigiosin production at higher temperatures. The medium suggested in this work is best suitable from an industrial point of view in being economically feasible, in terms of the higher prodigiosin yield and the extraction of prodigiosin described in this paper is simple with minimal wastage.