Arbutin is a hydroquinone glucoside and a natural product present in various plants. Arbutin potently inhibits melanin formation. This property has been exploited in whitening cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Arbutin production relies mainly on chemical synthesis. The multi-step and complicated process can compromise product purity. With the increasing awareness of sustainable development, the current research direction prioritizes environment-friendly, biobased arbutin production. In this review, current strategies for arbutin production are critically reviewed, with a focus on plant extraction, chemical synthesis, biotransformation, and microbial fermentation. Furthermore, the bottlenecks and perspectives for future direction on arbutin biosynthesis are discussed.
Keywords: arbutin; biotransformation; chemical synthesis; microbial fermentation; plant extraction.
Copyright © 2022 Xu, Xue, Li, Ye and Zhang.