The synthesis of prodigiosin by non-proliferating cells of Serratia marcescens was examined in the presence of a wide range of concentrations of inorganic phosphate (Pi). A high elevation of pigment formation was obtained at less than or equal to 0.3 mM, and a broader but much lower elevation was obtained at 10 to 250 mM Pi. The synthesis of two immediate precursors of the pitment also was inhibited by Pi. The mechanism of action of Pi did not involve changes in pH or accumulation of the trace metal nutrient iron or zinc. Inhibition was most pronounced when Pi was added to the induction system before the onset of pigment formation. The inhibitor also diminished the burst of alkaline phosphatase activity that occurred in the period between the start of induction and appearance of prodigiosin
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