Anthocyanins, multi-functional natural products of industrial relevance: Recent biotechnological advances

Biotechnol Adv. 2020 Nov 1;43:107600. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2020.107600. Epub 2020 Jul 18.


Anthocyanins, the color compounds of plants, are known for their wide applications in food, nutraceuticals and cosmetic industry. The biosynthetic pathway of anthocyanins is well established with the identification of potential key regulatory genes, which makes it possible to modulate its production by biotechnological means. Various biotechnological systems, including use of in vitro plant cell or tissue cultures as well as microorganisms have been used for the production of anthocyanins under controlled conditions, however, a wide range of factors affects their production. In addition, metabolic engineering technologies have also used the heterologous production of anthocyanins in recombinant plants and microorganisms. However, these approaches have mostly been tested at the lab- and pilot-scales, while very few up-scaling studies have been undertaken. Various challenges and ways of investigation are proposed here to improve anthocyanin production by using the in vitro plant cell or tissue culture and metabolic engineering of plants and microbial culture systems. All these methods are capable of modulating the production of anthocyanins , which can be further utilized for pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food applications.

Keywords: Anthocyanins; Biosynthesis; Biotechnological methods; Callus culture; Cell culture; In vitro culture; Metabolic engineering; Microbial cell factory; Regulatory genes; Transcription factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins*
  • Biological Products*
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Biotechnology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Metabolic Engineering


  • Anthocyanins
  • Biological Products