Before the industrial revolution, Purple is a rare color —to obtain 1.4g dye, 12,000 snails would be killed. It was a symbol of power and wealth because of the difficulty to obtain. This noble dye is Tyrian Purple, also named Royal Purple.·
Nowadays, thanks to the advanced chemical industry, the resources of purple dye are not limited to murices; so that purple clothes are not unavailable for common people anymore. Besides, most of people has the awareness of environmental protection, the number of wild lives killed because their “special” taste or beautiful appearance decreased. The snails finally could lead a peaceful life in the sea.
But it is precisely the booming chemical manufacturing industry that has caused more and more pollution to animals, rivers, air and so on.
Pollution from dye production accounts for a large proportion of chemical pollution. Also, the production process is harmful to human health. Chemical production saved snails, but it did not save humans.
This year, we aim to realize the biosynthesis of 6,6-dibromoindigo, which is the main chemical constituent of Tyrian Purple. Not only are we saving snails, but also keeping people away from pollution and hazards.