BioColour: Bio-based Dyes and Pigments for Colour Palette

On-going project


The BioColour project ( funded by the Strategic Research Council, Academy of Finland is a consortium representing scientists from ten different research units and led by Dr. Riikka Räisänen from University of Helsinki. The aim of the project is to create a colourful palette of yellows, reds, browns, greens, blues and blacks using bio-based dyes and pigments. A team at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland studies microbes, especially yeast and filamentous fungi, as sources for dyes and pigments.

fungicolorants Eveliina Juuri VTT.png

Image by Eveliina Juuri



and outreach

The VTT team skilled in industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology aims to produce colours with yeast and filamentous fungi in contained bioreactors. Nature contains various microbes that produce coloured secondary metabolites that may be formed only in certain environmental conditions. Two different research lines are studied at VTT:

  1. Screening for natural colour producers, yeast and filamentous fungi, from VTT Culture Collection and from other collections.

  2. Pathway discovery and metabolic engineering of metabolic pathways for colours; introduction of selected colour pathways into heterologous host strains.

In addition, the colour compounds are partially purified, analysed, and evaluated for safe use before applying them in applications e.g. textile dyeing.

The BioColour consortia brings together different disciplines from production of dye molecules, to evaluation of safety, application testing and design to consumer studies. One major output of the project will be a public database for biobased colours. The consortia is active in connecting with different stakeholders, organizing events and welcomes interested parties to engage and follow the project e.g. in social media channels:

For more information, contact Mervi Toivari at mervi.toivari(a)


Image by Rikka Raisanen