Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.5, 1905-1912, 2021
Inducing red pigment and inhibiting citrinin production by adding lanthanum(III) ion in Monascus purpureus fermentation
Monascus pigments (MPs) are widely used natural colorants in Asian countries. The problems of low extracellular red pigment (ERP) and high citrinin remain to be solved in Monascus pigment production. The effect of lanthanum(III) ion (LaCl3) on Monascus purpureus fermentation was investigated in this study. The yields of ERP and biomass respectively reached maxima of 124.10 U/mL and 33.10 g/L by adding 0.4 g/L La3+ on the second day in the total 8-day fermentation; simultaneously, citrinin was decreased by 59.93% and 38.14% in the extracellular and intracellular fractions, respectively. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were obviously improved by La3+ treatment, while the activities of catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were increased compared with the control. The ratio of unsaturated/saturated fatty acids in mycelia was increased from 2.94 to 3.49, indicating that the permeability and fluidity of the cell membrane were enhanced under La3+ treatment. Gene expression analysis showed that the relative expression levels of Monascus pigment synthesis genes (pksPT, mppB, mppD, MpFasB2, and MpPKS5) were significantly upregulated by La3+ treatment, and in contrast, the relative expression levels of citrinin synthesis genes (ctnA, pksCT and mppC) were markedly downregulated. This work confirmed that LaCl3 possesses the potential to induce red pigment biosynthesis and inhibit citrinin production in M. purpureus fermentation.