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Microbial production of custom-made, pure and sustainable anthocyanins

Project description

Innovative method for natural colours

Colour compounds used in the food and beverage and cosmetics industries are undergoing a profound transformation. They are adopting natural plant-based pigments (such as anthocyanins) and moving away from synthetic colourants that can be harmful for human health. However, natural colours are not suitable for such use since their quality is poor and they affect agricultural land use. N-CHROMA is an innovative start-up specialised in the production of healthy, sustainable and high-quality colours for the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors. It has developed a pioneering technology to produce colour compounds using baker’s yeast as a microbial cell factory to produce 3-deoxyanthocyanins that have high antioxidant activity. The EU-funded Colourganisms project will investigate the functionality of the product and conduct technical and commercial feasibility studies.


The colour industry is undergoing a radical change as it moves from harmful, synthetic colorants to natural, plant-based colour compounds. This change creates several problems as natural colours are poor in quality, they are impure and they compete directly with agricultural land use and food. To overcome these limitations, at N-CHROMA we have developed a new revolutionary technology to produce colour compounds suitable for the Food & Beverage and Colour Cosmetics industries. We do this by using microorganisms to produce custom-made, high quality and pure anthocyanin compounds in a sustainable and cost effective manner. To achieve this we are using baker’s yeast as a microbial cell factory to produce stable anthocyanins. This class of colour compounds shows advanced characteristics in terms of stability to pH changes, making them more attractive to the target markets.

With the SME instrument phase 1 grant, we aim to assess the functionality of our ingredients to existing products. Also, the cost-in-use of our highly pure compounds will be assessed during the technical feasibility study. In addition, we will perform commercial feasibility studies for the use of anthocyanins in the cosmetic, personal care and nutraceutical markets. Such markets have not been investigated so far but they hold great potential for anthocyanins due to their high antioxidant activity and biological function.

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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00


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Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00