The effects of60 Co gamma radiation on the production of the red nonessential tripyrrole pigment, prodigiosin, have been studied in Serratia marcescens. A comparison of the survival of pigmenting and nonpigmenting strains of S. marcescens has been carried out. Wild-type S. marcescens, Nima, which synthesizes prodigiosin, and three nonpigmenting mutant strains were examined. Measurement of colony-forming ability after gamma radiation is always greater in nonpigmenting (white) mutants of S. marcescens than in pigmenting strains. The red pigment may be acting as an endogenous radiosensitizer.

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