Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lynch, Darrel L.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences


Prodigiosin; Serratia marcescens; Pigments


This investigation has entailed three different analytical approaches with the pigment, prodigiosin, obtained from the bacterium Serratia marcescens. A new method for eluting the pigment from the organism is proposed using glacial acetic acid. Furthermore, five separate fractions are attainable from the whole pigment by means of a simple solvent-solute procedure utilizing the organic solvents petroleum ether, chloroform, acetone, ethanol, and methanol. Spectral analytical comparisons of the whole pigment and fractions obtained with these methods reflect similarities with previous findings when chromatographic methods were employed. It was therefore concluded that fractional products obtained by our procedures are significant in the sense that they showed certain absorptive similarities to the whole pigment yet retained specific differences to qualify them as individual fractions. Disc-agar diffusion sensitivity studies were also performed against E. coli, E. aerogenes, S. aureus, B. subtilus, and P. aeruginosa with prodigiosin and fractions dissolved in 100% dimethyl sulfoxide. The solvent was found to have no diffusable bacteriostatic activity in vitro, yet the prodigiosin, the fraction extracted with ethanol (E-4), and the fraction extracted with methanol (M-5) produced inhibition zones with every organism tested. Greatest potency was exhibited by the E-4 fraction, whereas the three other fractions (PE-1, C-2, and A-3) showed no antimicrobial activity. The final analysis concerned the effects of prodigiosin and its fractions on embryogenesis. It was found that the whole pigment and C-2 fraction proved to be highly teratogenic while certain other fractions demonstrated toxicity approaching LD50 values of 26-30 ug/egg when dissolved in 100% DMSO. The effects of 95% ethanol were also observed and proved to be highly toxic as well as teratogenic at dose levels of 0.1 ml/egg thus giving indications that it is an unsuitable solvent for future studies of similar nature. The E-4 fraction in DMSO demonstrated the least toxic effect and inconclusive teratogenicity. It is the belief of this investigator that the initial screening of the antibiotic "prodigiosin E-4" gives evidence of its potential as a small risk chemotherapeutic agent that may be used during gestation. Further research on mammalian development is in order.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [71]-78)


78 pages




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