Biotechnological production of carotenoids by yeasts: an overview

Microb Cell Fact. 2014 Jan 21;13:12. doi: 10.1186/1475-2859-13-12.


Nowadays, carotenoids are valuable molecules in different industries such as chemical, pharmaceutical, poultry, food and cosmetics. These pigments not only can act as vitamin A precursors, but also they have coloring and antioxidant properties, which have attracted the attention of the industries and researchers. The carotenoid production through chemical synthesis or extraction from plants is limited by low yields that results in high production costs. This leads to research of microbial production of carotenoids, as an alternative that has shown better yields than other aforementioned. In addition, the microbial production of carotenoids could be a better option about costs, looking for alternatives like the use of low-cost substrates as agro-industrials wastes. Yeasts have demonstrated to be carotenoid producer showing an important growing capacity in several agro-industrial wastes producing high levels of carotenoids. Agro-industrial wastes provide carbon and nitrogen source necessary, and others elements to carry out the microbial metabolism diminishing the production costs and avoiding pollution from these agro-industrial wastes to the environmental. Herein, we discuss the general and applied concepts regarding yeasts carotenoid production and the factors influencing carotenogenesis using agro-industrial wastes as low-cost substrates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology
  • Canthaxanthin / biosynthesis
  • Carotenoids / biosynthesis*
  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Xanthophylls / biosynthesis
  • Yeasts / metabolism*


  • Xanthophylls
  • Carotenoids
  • Canthaxanthin
  • torulene
  • astaxanthine