Enzyme and Microbial Technology, Vol.27, No.8, 619-625, 2000
Kinetic analysis of red pigment and citrinin production by Monascus ruber as a function of organic acid accumulation
In submerged cultures performed in synthetic medium containing glucose and glutamate, the filamentous fungus Monascus ruber produced a red pigment and a mycotoxin, citrinin. In oxygen-limiting conditions, the production of these two metabolites was growth-associated, as was the production of primary metabolites. In oxygen-excess conditions, the profile of citrinin production was typical of a secondary metabolite, since it was produced mostly during the stationary phase. In contrast, the production of the pigment decreased rapidly throughout the culture, showing a profile characteristic of an inhibitory mechanism. The organic acids produced during the culture, L-malate and succinate, were shown to be slightly inhibitory against pigment production, while citrinin production was unaffected. However, this inhibition could not account for the observed profile of pigment production in batch cultures. Other dicarboxylic acids such as fumarate or tartrate showed a similar effect to that provoked by malate and succinate as regards pigment production. It was concluded that the decrease in red pigment production during the culture was due to the inhibitory effect of an unknown product whose accumulation was favored in aerobic conditions.