Antimicrobial betalains

Vindya Nilakshi Wijesinghe, Wee Sim Choo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Betalains are nitrogen-containing plant pigments that can be red-violet (betacyanins) or yellow-orange (betaxanthins), currently employed as natural colourants in the food and cosmetic sectors. Betalains exhibit antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of microbes including multidrug-resistant bacteria, as well as single-species and dual-species biofilm-producing bacteria, which is highly significant given the current antimicrobial resistance issue reported by The World Health Organization. Research demonstrating antiviral activity against dengue virus, in silico studies including SARS-CoV-2, and anti-fungal effects of betalains highlight the diversity of their antimicrobial properties. Though limited in vivo studies have been conducted, antimalarial and anti-infective activities of betacyanin have been observed in living infection models. Cellular mechanisms of antimicrobial activity of betalains are yet unknown; however existing research has laid the framework for a potentially novel antimicrobial agent. This review covers an overview of betalains as antimicrobial agents and discussions to fully exploit their potential as therapeutic agents to treat infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3347-3367
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • anti-fungal
  • antibacterial
  • antibiofilm
  • antiviral
  • betacyanin
  • ESKAPE pathogens

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