A new breakthrough in biological engineering spells good news for several companies who might have been using synthetic, toxic dyes in their products. A natural alternative for dyeing items indigo has been discovered. 

Dr. Jixun Zahn – an associate professor of biological engineering – works at Utah State University in the United States and has patented a new method of making a natural blue dye called inigoidine.He is at the university. 

Indigoidine is a deep blue dye found in the dyeing of jeans, drinks, paper and even some foods. 

Explaining how the process works, Zhan said, “In the original producing strain, there is only one copy of the biosynthetic gene that synthesizes the pigment…But in E. coli. we can make multiple copies of the gene and induce its expression under a stronger promoter.” 

After this process, it is further “processed and purified” so that it can be used in foods and makeup, amongst other things. 

Business development director at Utah State University has applauded the discovery and added, “I’ve had a number of conversations with food- and consumer-product companies that are looking for natural dyes to replace some or all the synthetic chemical-based dyes currently in use — in particular blue.”


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