Isolation of natural red colorants from fermented broth using ionic liquid-based aqueous two-phase systems


There is a growing demand for natural colorants. This is prompting the search for new alternative and "benign" separation systems allowing higher recoveries, extraction yields, and selectivities. This work investigates the use of aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) based on ionic liquids as extraction processes for the recovery of red colorants from the fermented broth of Penicillium purpurogenum DPUA 1275. Several ATPS based on quaternary ammonium and imidazolium were studied in this work aiming at separating the red colorants produced from the remaining colorants and contaminant proteins present in the fermented broth. The results suggest that the red colorants can be isolated by an appropriate manipulation of some of the process conditions, such as the use of quaternary ammonium with short alkyl chains, alkaline media, and short tie-line lengths (extraction point systems with lower concentrations of ionic liquid). These conditions allow large partition coefficients for the red colorants (K (red) = 24.4 +/- A 2.3), high protein removal (60.7 +/- A 2.8 %) and selectivity parameters (S (red/prot) = 10.05).



subject category

Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology


Ventura, SPM; Santos-Ebinuma, VC; Pereira, JFB; Teixeira, MFS; Pessoa, A; Coutinho, JAP

our authors


This work was financed by national funding from Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT), through the projects PTDC/QUI-QUI/121520/2010 and Pest-C/CTM/LA0011/2011. The authors also acknowledge FCT for the doctoral and post-doctoral grant SFRH/BD/60228/2009 and SFRH/BPD/79263/2011 awarded to J. F. B. Pereira and S. P. M. Ventura, respectively. The authors are also grateful for the financial support (process reference 2012/09479-4) from FAPESP (Sao Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil). V. C. Santos-Ebinuma and A. Pessoa thank FAPESP (Sao Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil), CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development-Brazil), and CAPES (Coordination of Superior Level Staff Improvement, Brazil) for their financial support.

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