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The objective of this work was to research the antibacterial effects of orange pigment, which was separated from Monascus pigments, against Staphylococcus aureus. The increase of the diameter of inhibition zone treated with orange pigment indicated that orange pigment had remarkable antibacterial activities against S. aureus. Orange pigment (10 mg ml−1) had a strong destructive effect on the membrane and structure of S. aureus by the analysis of scanning electron microscopy as well as transmission electron microscopy. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) further demonstrated that the cell membrane was seriously damaged by orange pigment, which resulted in the leakage of protein from S. aureus cells. A significant decrease in the synthesis of DNA was also seen in S. aureus cells exposed to 10 mg ml−1 orange pigment. All in all, orange pigment showed excellent antibacterial effects against S. aureus.

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