Background: This work aimed to explore the action of natural prodigiosin on both bacterial organisms and Trypanosoma cruzi cells. Methods: Natural prodigiosin pigment was extracted and purified from cultures of Serratia marcescens. Two media, peanut broth and peptone glycerol broth, both recommended in the literature for prodigiosin production, were compared. The prodigiosin obtained was employed to explore its antimicrobial properties against both bacteria and Trypanosoma cruzi cells. Results: Peanut broth yielded four times more prodigiosin. The prodigiosin showed remarkable activity (minimal inhibitory concentrations in the range of 2-8 µM for bacteria and half maximal inhibitory concentration of 0.6 µM for Trypanosoma cruzi). In fact, the prodigiosin concentration required to inhibit parasite growth was as low as 0.25 mg/l versus 4.9 mg/l of benznidazole required. Furthermore, atomic force microscopy revealed marked morphological alterations in treated epimastigote forms, although no pore-formation activity was detected in protein-free environments. Conclusions: This work demonstrates the potential usefulness of prodigiosin against some gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and Trypanosoma cruzi although further studies must be done in order to assess its value as a candidate molecule.
Keywords: Trypanosoma cruzi, Chagas disease, Prodigiosin, Atomic force microscopy