Expression of a bacterial ß-carotene hydroxylase in canthaxanthin producing mutant Mucor circinelloides strains

Árpád Csernetics, Eszter Tóth, Anita Farkas, Gábor Nagy, Ottó Bencsik, Palanisamy Manikandan, Csaba Vágvölgyi, Tamás Papp

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Xanthophylls, primarily hydroxyl- and keto-derivatives of ß-carotene (such as zeaxanthin, ß-cryptoxanthin, canthaxanthin, echinenone and astaxanthin) have powerful antioxidant activity. Due to several positive effects on human and animal health, industrial application of xanthophylls shows an increasing tendency. In our previous study, carotenoid biosynthesis of the ß-carotene producing zygomycetes, Mucor circinelloides was modified by integrating the ß-carotene ketolase encoding gene (crtW) of Paracoccus sp. N81106 into the genome. The isolated mutants accumulated mainly canthaxanthin and echinenone. Although, the fungus has ß-carotene hydroxylase activity the astaxanthin production remained low even under different cultivation conditions, whereby canthaxanthin accumulation was further enhanced. In this study, the ß-carotene hydroxylase encoding gene (crtZ) of the same bacterium was introduced into these canthaxanthin producing mutants of M. circinelloides either on autonomously replicating plasmids or by integrating it into the genome using the REMI method. Increased astaxanthin accumulation was observed in the transformants, which together with zeaxanthin and ß-cryptoxanthin content could be further enhanced several fold by the modification of the cultivation conditions. An effective method for the extraction of carotenoids from Mucor mycelia grown in liquid culture was also developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalActa Biologica Szegediensis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Astaxanthin
  • Carotenoid extraction
  • Heterologous expression
  • Paracoccus sp. N81106
  • ß-carotene hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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