Biotechnology and applied biochemistry

Corncob hydrolysate, an efficient substrate for Monascus pigment production through submerged fermentation.

PMID 24673365


Monascus pigment has traditionally been produced by the fermentation of Monascus using rice powder or glucose as a culture substrate. Submerged fermentation can produce stable Monascus pigment yield and control the accumulation of the by-product, citrinin, which can then be more easily removed. To reduce the cost of Monascus submerged fermentation, the feasibility of corncob hydrolysate as an alternative substrate was investigated. Results showed that, when compared with a conventional glucose medium, the corncob hydrolysate medium produced an equivalent pigment yield without stimulating citrinin accumulation. Furthermore, the corncob hydrolysate medium and cultivation conditions were optimized to enhance pigment production and decrease citrinin synthesis. When Monascus sp. was cultured under dark conditions in the presence of caprylic acid, pigment production was increased to 25.8xa0±xa00.8xa0UA500 /mL, which was higher than that achieved in a glucose medium (24.0xa0±xa00.9xa0UA500 /mL), and those obtained in previously reported Monascus submerged fermentations using the same yield unit; on the other hand, citrinin accumulation was decreased to 26.2xa0±xa01.9xa0µg/L, which was significantly lower than that generated in the glucose control (44.3xa0±xa02.2xa0µg/L) and in those previously reported fermentations. Thus, corncob hydrolysate was proved to be an efficient alternative substrate for Monascus pigment production through submerged fermentation, which showed significant advantages over a conventional glucose substrate.