Particular Plant Pigments

MSc Cintia Csorba
MSc Muhammad Ahmad

Bioresources Unit, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology

Subject area: Biology
What is it: The plant family Boraginaceae is known for the various look and application of its members. Ornamental and medicinal plants as well as herbs are found among the 2000 species. In the focus of our research stands the species alkanet, purple viper´s bugloss and viper´s bugloss flowering plants with a particular pigment in their root system. The specific pigment alkannin/shikonin has several medicinal properties which makes it especially useful for accelerating wound-healing. Besides the medical use the vivid red color of the roots caught the attention of our ancestors, thus dried and grinded roots were being used as a natural textile dye. The role of these compounds in the physiology of the plant is not clear yet, hence more research is needed. Because of the growing demand of more products in the medical and cosmeceutical industry we need to enhance the production to fit the needs. An interesting approach for increasing the concentration in our plants is to find interacting microorganisms which could boost the pathways and result in higher yields. At our stand we demonstrate the coloring properties through small experiments, show you an experimental production system and invite you for learning about plant-microbe interactions.