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Catalog No.: GC13137

Pyocyanin is a biologically active phenazine pigment

Pyocyanin Chemical Structure

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Sample solution is provided at 25 µL, 10mM.

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Cell experiment [1]:

Cell lines

Human embryonic lung epithelial cell line, L-132

Preparation Method

Cell cultures in 96 well plates were developed by adding 0.2 ml cell suspension in growth medium containing approximately 5 × 105 cells ml−1 and incubating for 12 h at appropriate temperature.

Reaction Conditions

Pyocyanin was prepared with different concentrations in growth medium. Then added to the wells to attain final strength ranging from 6.25 to 200 µg ml−1 for XTT (mitochondrial activity), neutral red up take (plasma membrane damage) and SRB (protein synthesis), 0–200 µg ml−1 for LDH and H2O2, and 25–200 µg ml−1 for glucose consumption in triplicate for each concentration. Incubate for 24 h.


The cytotoxicity of pyocyanin could be assessed by this experiment, facilitating pyocyanin’s safe usage toxicity. Higher concentrations of pyocyanin (175 and 200 mg l−1) only caused significant morphological changes such as clumping, and necrosis as visualized microscopically in L-132 cell line. Human cell membrane was found to be susceptible to oxidative damage induced by pyocyanin.

Animal experiment [2]:

Animal models

Male C57BL/6J mice (8-10 weeks, 20-30 g)

Preparation Method

Mice were housed under controlled laboratory conditions, maintained on a 12 h day and night cycle. Then mice were acclimatized for 5 days to the lab conditions and handling prior to the actual beginning of the experiments. Mice were administered 0.9% saline as control, and pyocyanin by intranasal route. Another group was treated with LPS (P.aeruginosa) by intraperitoneal route to mimic the effects of ongoing infection on tissue permeability, and pyocyanin was instilled by intranasal route 3h after LPS injection.

Dosage form

Pyocyanin (50 µg/50 µL in 0.9% saline); 0.9% saline (50 µL); LPS (3 mg/kg)


Pyocyanin could be diffused into systemic circulation, which was not influenced by the pre-exposure to pseudomonal infestation. This experiment detected the plasma concentration of intranasally administered Pyocyanin. Furthermore, localized administration of Pyocyanin was able to elicit changes to behavior and a systemic pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidant effect.


[1]. Priyaja P, et al. Pyocyanin induced in vitro oxidative damage and its toxicity level in human, fish and insect cell lines for its selective biological applications. Cytotechnology. 2016 Jan;68(1):143-155.

[2]. Arora D, et al. Pyocyanin induces systemic oxidative stress, inflammation and behavioral changes in vivo. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2018 Jul;28(6):410-414.


Pyocyanin is a biologically active phenazine pigment produced by the bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, acting as a nitric oxide (NO) antagonist in various pharmacological preparations and as mediator in biosensors. Pyocyanin can also be used as electron shuttle in microbial fuel cells enabling bacterial electron transfers. Furthermore, Pyocyanin has broad antibiotic activity as well as has been identified as the key molecule produced by Pseudomonas that inhibits growth of pathogenic vibrios in aquaculture systems.[1]

In vitro study was performed to measure the cytotoxicity of Pyocyanin. Results indicated that L-132 cells were prone to Pyocyanin-induced toxicity. The IC50 value of Pyocyanin on inhibition of mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity was 112.01 ± 23.73 mg l−1. The IC50 value of Pyocyanin induced damage of plasma membrane was 21.79 ± 14.23 mg l−1. Moreover, Pyocyanin showed an IC50 of 32.57 ± 16.52 mg l−1 on inhibition of protein synthesis. When Pyocyanin has concentration of 25 mg l−1, 3.9 % inhibition of mitochondrial activity, 47.3 % plasma membrane damage and 26.6 % inhibition of protein synthesis were observed in L-132 cells. Whereas at lower concentration (6.25 mg l−1) the toxicity was negligible, whereas at 200 mg l−1 the values were 64.8, 72.8 and 91.7 %, respectively.[1]

In vivo study demonstrated that Pyocyanin was able to slow the beating of human respiratory tract cilia. The effects of Pyocyanin on tracheal mucus velocity of radiolabeled erythrocytes were tested in anesthetized guinea pigs. The effect of Pyocyanin was slower in onset, 600 ng causing 60% reduction in tracheal mucus velocity at 3 h, and no recovery occurred. Whereas combination of Pyocyanin and 1-hydroxyphenazine produced an initial rapid slowing equivalent to the same dose of 1-hydroxyphenazine given alone, but the later slowing attributed to Pyocyanin was greater than the same dose administered alone. This study demonstrates one mechanism by which products of P. aeruginosa, such as Pyocyanin may facilitate its colonization of the respiratory tract.

[1]. Priyaja P, et al. Pyocyanin induced in vitro oxidative damage and its toxicity level in human, fish and insect cell lines for its selective biological applications. Cytotechnology. 2016 Jan;68(1):143-155.
[2]. Arora D, et al. Pyocyanin induces systemic oxidative stress, inflammation and behavioral changes in vivo. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2018 Jul;28(6):410-414.

Chemical Properties

Cas No. 85-66-5 SDF
Synonyms Sanasin,Sanazin,Pyocyanine
Chemical Name 5-methyl-1(5H)-phenazinone
Canonical SMILES Cn1c2ccccc2nc2c(=O)cccc12
Formula C13H10N2O M.Wt 210.2
Solubility 5mg/ml in ethanol, or in DMSO; 2.5mg/ml in DMF Storage Store at -20°C
General tips For obtaining a higher solubility , please warm the tube at 37 ℃ and shake it in the ultrasonic bath for a while.Stock solution can be stored below -20℃ for several months.
Shipping Condition Evaluation sample solution : ship with blue ice
All other available size: ship with RT , or blue ice upon request

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Research Update

The role of pyocyanin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection

Trends Mol Med2004 Dec;10(12):599-606.PMID: 15567330DOI: 10.1016/j.molmed.2004.10.002

Pyocyanin (PCN) is a blue redox-active secondary metabolite that is produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PCN is readily recovered in large quantities in sputum from patients with cystic fibrosis who are infected by P. aeruginosa. Despite in vitro studies demonstrating that PCN interferes with multiple cellular functions, its importance during clinical infection is uncertain. This is partially caused by the difficulty in defining the contribution of PCN among the numerous virulence factors produced by P. aeruginosa during infection. In addition, few cellular pathways that are affected by PCN are known. This review briefly highlights recent advances that might clarify the role of PCN in P. aeruginosa pathogenesis.

Electrochemical Detection of Pyocyanin as a Biomarker for Pseudomonas aeruginosa: A Focused Review

Sensors (Basel)2020 Sep 13;20(18):5218.PMID: 32933125DOI: 10.3390/s20185218

Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is a pathogen that is recognized for its advanced antibiotic resistance and its association with serious diseases such as ventilator-associated pneumonia and cystic fibrosis. The ability to rapidly detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria in patient samples is crucial for the immediate eradication of the infection. Pyocyanin is one of PA's virulence factors used to establish infections. Pyocyanin promotes virulence by interfering in numerous cellular functions in host cells due to its redox-activity. Fortunately, the redox-active nature of pyocyanin makes it ideal for detection with simple electrochemical techniques without sample pretreatment or sensor functionalization. The previous decade has seen an increased interest in the electrochemical detection of pyocyanin either as an indicator of the presence of PA in samples or as a tool for quantifying PA virulence. This review provides the first overview of the advances in electrochemical detection of pyocyanin and offers an input regarding the future directions in the field.

Pyocyanin as anti-tyrosinase and anti tinea corporis: A novel treatment study

Microb Pathog2016 Nov;100:213-220.PMID: 27671284DOI: 10.1016/j.micpath.2016.09.013

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of pyocyanin pigment as a novel compound active against tyrosinase with its depigmentation efficiency for combating Trichophyton rubrum which could be a major causative agent of tinea corporis.
Methods: Fifty swabs of fungal tinea corporis infections were collected and identified. Five MDRPA isolates were tested for their levels of pyocyanin production. The purified extracted pyocyanin was characterized by UV spectrum and FT-IR analysis. Pyocyanin activity against tyrosinase was determined by dopachrome micro-plate. In addition, the antidermatophytic activity of pyocyanin against T. rubrum was detected by radial growth technique. In vivo novel trial was conducted to evaluate the efficiency and safety of pyocyanin as an alternative natural therapeutic compound against T. rubrum causing tinea corporis.
Results: Purified pyocyanin showed highly significant inhibitory activity against tyrosinase and T. rubrum. In vivo topical treatments with pyocyanin ointment revealed the efficiency of pyocyanin (MIC 2000 μg/ml) to cure tinea corporis compared to fluconazole, which showed a partial curing at a higher concentration (MIC 3500 μg/ml) after two weeks of treatment. In addition, the results revealed complete healing and disappear of hyperpigmentation by testing the safety of pyocyanin ointment and its histopathological efficiency in the skin treatment without any significant toxic effect.
Conclusion: Pyocyanin pigment could be a promising anti-tyrosinase and a new active compound against T. rubrum, which could be a major causative agent of tinea corporis. In fact, if pyocyanin secondary metabolite is going to be used in practical medication, it will support the continuous demand of novel antimycotic natural agents against troublesome fungal infections.

Colour Me Blue: The History and the Biotechnological Potential of Pyocyanin

Molecules2021 Feb 10;26(4):927.PMID: 33578646DOI: 10.3390/molecules26040927

Pyocyanin was the first natural phenazine described. The molecule is synthesized by about 95% of the strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. From discovery up to now, pyocyanin has been characterised by a very rich and avant-garde history, which includes its use in antimicrobial therapy, even before the discovery of penicillin opened the era of antibiotic therapy, as well as its use in electric current generation. Exhibiting an exuberant blue colour and being easy to obtain, this pigment is the subject of the present review, aiming to narrate its history as well as to unveil its mechanisms and suggest new horizons for applications in different areas of engineering, biology and biotechnology.

Pyocyanin: production, applications, challenges and new insights

World J Microbiol Biotechnol2014 Apr;30(4):1159-68.PMID: 24214679DOI: 10.1007/s11274-013-1552-5

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic, Gram-negative bacterium and is one of the most commercially and biotechnologically valuable microorganisms. Strains of P. aeruginosa secrete a variety of redox-active phenazine compounds, the most well studied being pyocyanin. Pyocyanin is responsible for the blue-green colour characteristic of Pseudomonas spp. It is considered both as a virulence factor and a quorum sensing signalling molecule for P. aeruginosa. Pyocyanin is an electrochemically active metabolite, involved in a variety of significant biological activities including gene expression, maintaining fitness of bacterial cells and biofilm formation. It is also recognised as an electron shuttle for bacterial respiration and as an antibacterial and antifungal agent. This review summarises recent advances of pyocyanin production from P. aeruginosa with special attention to antagonistic property and bio-control activity. The review also covers the challenges and new insights into pyocyanin from P. aeruginosa.


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