A team of researchers from Shoolini University, Himachal Pradesh, India have discovered a psychrophilic bacterial strain, called Rhodonellum psychrophilum GL8, at the high altitude Pangong Tso Lake in the Himalayas. The red pigment isolated from this bacterium possesses antimicrobial, antifungal, and skin cell growth-stimulating properties. This novel bio-pigment promises to be useful for the development of antimicrobial smart fabrics, medicated bandages, and natural food coloring and preservatives. Dyes and their vivid colors have fascinated humankind even beyond recorded history. Archaeology offers evidence for the dyeing of garments in the Bronze Age and during the heyday of the Indus Valley Civilization. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the world relied on natural dyes sourced from plants such as indigo, turmeric, saffron, beans, and paprika. The Industrial Revolution brought with it synthetic dyes that were much cheaper and readily available for use in the cosmetics, textile, pharmaceutical, and food industries. But a side-effect of this wanton application of synthetic dyes has been the steady contamination of our soil and water with the toxic chemicals released from these artificial products.
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