Microbial models of mammalian metabolism of xenobiotics: An updated review

Curr Med Chem. 1999 May;6(5):359-74.


The utilization of microbes as models for mammalian metabolism of xenobiotics has been well established since the concept was first introduced by Smith and Rosazza in the early seventies. The core assumption of this concept rests on the fact that fungi are eukaryotic organisms that possess metabolizing enzyme systems similar to those present in mammalian systems. Hence, the outcome of xenobiotic metabolism in both systems is expected to be similar, if not identical, and, thus, fungi can be used to predict the outcome of mammalian metabolism of various xenobiotics, including drugs. Utilizing microbial models offers a number of advantages over the use of animals in metabolism studies, mainly reduction in use of animals, ease of setup and manipulation, higher yield and diversity of metabolite production, and lower cost of production. In a continuation to our contribution to this field, this review will outline the results of studies that were conducted over the last seven years to emphasize the similarities between the microbial and mammalian metabolic pathways of xenobiotics through the endorsement of the concept of microbial models of mammalian metabolism .

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotransformation
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Mammals
  • Models, Biological*
  • Xenobiotics / pharmacokinetics*


  • Xenobiotics