Research article

Brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue–pigments of nontuberculous mycobacteria

  • Received: 07 August 2020 Accepted: 10 November 2020 Published: 17 November 2020
  • Pigments are chromophores naturally synthesized by animals, plants, and microorganisms, as well as produced synthetically for a wide variety of industries such as food, pharmaceuticals, and textiles. Bacteria produce various pigments including melanin, pyocyanin, bacteriochlorophyll, violacein, prodigiosin, and carotenoids that exert diverse biological activities as antioxidants and demonstrate anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial properties. Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) include over 200 environmental and acid-fast species; some of which can cause opportunistic disease in humans. Early in the study of mycobacteriology, the vast majority of mycobacteria were not known to synthesize pigments, particularly NTM isolates of clinical significance such as the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) species. This paper reviews the overall understanding of microbial pigments, their applications, as well as highlights what is currently known about pigments produced by NTM, the circumstances that trigger their production, and their potential roles in NTM survival and virulence.

    Citation: Tru Tran, Stephanie N. Dawrs, Grant J. Norton, Ravleen Virdi, Jennifer R. Honda. Brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue–pigments of nontuberculous mycobacteria[J]. AIMS Microbiology, 2020, 6(4): 434-450. doi: 10.3934/microbiol.2020026

    Related Papers:

  • Pigments are chromophores naturally synthesized by animals, plants, and microorganisms, as well as produced synthetically for a wide variety of industries such as food, pharmaceuticals, and textiles. Bacteria produce various pigments including melanin, pyocyanin, bacteriochlorophyll, violacein, prodigiosin, and carotenoids that exert diverse biological activities as antioxidants and demonstrate anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial properties. Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) include over 200 environmental and acid-fast species; some of which can cause opportunistic disease in humans. Early in the study of mycobacteriology, the vast majority of mycobacteria were not known to synthesize pigments, particularly NTM isolates of clinical significance such as the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) species. This paper reviews the overall understanding of microbial pigments, their applications, as well as highlights what is currently known about pigments produced by NTM, the circumstances that trigger their production, and their potential roles in NTM survival and virulence.



    J.R.H. acknowledges support from the Padosi Foundation. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

    Conflict of interest

    All authors declare no conflicts of interest in this paper.

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