Gateway to BLUE world

Anthocyanins, pigments found in plants, have enormous potential as natural food colourants offering a range of colours from orange through red and purple to blue. Public concern over the toxicological safety of synthetic food colourants is increasing, resulting in the consequent banning of several red food dyes. There has been rising interest in the development and application of anthocyanins as food colourants. Most anthocyanins (nearly 700 have been described in nature) are not available commercially, so the consortium of the AnthoPLUS ERA-IB project (2014-2017) generated a number of plant cell cultures for production of various anthocyanins at high levels. One of the major problems with the widespread adoption of anthocyanins as natural colourants is the difficulty of reproducing the intense blue colours achieved in nature (cornflower, gentian, delphinium) in natural color formulations. There is considerable interest in achieving strong blue anthocyanin preparations and to improve the stability of anthocyanins such that they can be used as industrially-reliable, natural colourants replacing synthetic ones, like Synthetic Blue Number One.

Promising blue colours based on anthocyanins from plant cell cultures were recently
established within AnthoPLUS.AnthoPLUS (ANTHOcyanin production PLatform Using Suspension cultures) produces anthocyanins, of varying complexity in side chain decoration, or labelled with stable isotopes as fine chemicals. These can be used for assaying the composition of feedstocks for natural colours, for bioavailability, bioefficacy and mechanistic research in experimental medicine and as standards for assaying natural colorant extracts for improved formulations.

AnthoPLUS is supported by the ERA-NET Industrial Biotechnology 4th Joint Call, funded by their respective national and regional agencies. The Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK. coordination), John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), Institute of Food Chemistry and Toxicology, University of Vienna and the TransMIT GmbH, Project Division PlantMetaChem (PMC), are partner within the AnthoPLUS consortium.

Contact for further information:

Holger Mauelshagen
Press Officer
Gesellschaft für Technologietransfer mbH
Hamburger Allee 45
D-60486 Frankfurt
Phone: +49 (69) 605046-04
Fax: +49 (69) 605047-80

Dr. Andrea Matros (project coordination)
Leibniz-Institite of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)
Corrensstrasse 3
D-06466 Seeland/ OT Gatersleben
Phone: +49 (0)39482 5445

Further Information:

The Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben is one of the world’s leading international institutions in the field of plant genetics and crop science. Its research programme and services contribute materially to conserving, exploring and exploiting crop diversity. Its research goals are driven by the need to ensure an efficient and sustainable supply of food, energy and raw materials, thereby addressing a major global ecological challenge.

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