Team:BJU China/Implementation

proposed IMplementation


As mentioned in the project introduction, our project is mainly dedicated to the mass production of tyrian purple and Indigo derivatives in an environmentally friendly way. Their application directions are mainly in two scenarios: (1) Dyeing-related industries, such as textile factories;
(2) Used as semiconductors and photosensitive materials in semiconductor-related industries.

Tyrian Purple as Dyes

In the first application scenario, our customers are companies like textile dye factories, for they are more concerned about the dyeing effect rather than dye purity, so we don’t need to purified or refined the indigo dyes.The collected cells containing tyrian purple and its derivatives can be directly used as cell dyes after drying.

Our product features and advantages

Since E. coli is easy to cultivate with high growth rate, we can easily achieve large-scale production of cell dyes. And the entire production process will not cause any environmental pollution. Biodegradable and low cost will become our biggest highlights in attracting our customers. In addition, we will also try to produce indigo dyes of various colors through modifying metabolic pathways to achieve product diversification.

Safety Concern

Most impotantly, in this scenario, we need to pay extra attention to the safety of cell dyes. Because the process of cell disruption is omitted and the cells are directly collected as dyes, there will be a safety risk of biological leakage during this process. To avoid risks, we will take strict measures as following:

(1) All cells will be inactivated during the freeze-drying process.
(2) Strict live bacteria tests will be carried out to ensure product safety.
(3) We will also consider adding pathway designs such as temperature-controlled suicide switches to ensure absolute safety.
More about our Safety information, please see our safety page.

Future extension and plan

In addition, we will also consider to compare and evaluate the dyeing effect of both cell dyes and current industrial dyes, providing customers with better dyeing processes and technologies will also be within our future considerations


Figure 1 Dyeing products of 6BrIG (Left1)

Tyrian Purple as Semiconductors

In the second application scenario, we plan to apply tyrian purple and other indigo dyes to the semiconductor industry, which can be used as semiconductor coatings in the manufacture chips or electrodes. At present, the spectral absorption value of tyrian purple is in the visible light region, so its application will be a little limited, but its performance in photosensitive materials has been initially verified.

For semiconductor application, the purity requirements for indigo dyes will be relatively high, so we need to extract them from cells. Due to the relatively low water solubility of these dyes, we can directly extract them with alcohol or ester solvents without disrupting the cells. However, the specific extraction technology needs to be optimised in the future.

In terms of biosafety, because the final products are purified extracts, all genetic and cellular level work is carried out in the laboratory. As long as we control the safety of the laboratory, the final product will not contain any biological Security Risk.

Figure 2. The general structure we expected2


1.Lee, J., Kim, J., Song, J. E., Song, W. S., Kim, E. J., Kim, Y. G., Jeong, H. J., Kim, H. R., Choi, K. Y., & Kim, B. G. (2021). Production of Tyrian purple indigoid dye from tryptophan in Escherichia coli. Nature chemical biology, 17(1), 104–112.

2.Klimovich, I. V., Leshanskaya, L. I., Troyanov, S. I., Anokhin, D. V., Novikov, D. V., Piryazev, A. A., Ivanov, D. A., Dremova, N. N., & Troshin, P. A. (2014). Design of indigo derivatives as environment-friendly organic semiconductors for sustainable organic electronics. Journal of Materials Chemistry. C, Materials for Optical and Electronic Devices, 2(36), 7621–7631.