Evaluation of Various Escherichia coli Strains for Enhanced Lycopene Production

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2023 Jul 28;33(7):973-979. doi: 10.4014/jmb.2302.02003. Epub 2023 Apr 17.


Lycopene is a carotenoid widely used as a food and feed supplement due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer functions. Various metabolic engineering strategies have been implemented for high lycopene production in Escherichia coli, and for this purpose it was essential to select and develop an E. coli strain with the highest potency. In this study, we evaluated 16 E. coli strains to determine the best lycopene production host by introducing a lycopene biosynthetic pathway (crtE, crtB, and crtI genes cloned from Deinococcus wulumuqiensis R12 and dxs, dxr, ispA, and idi genes cloned from E. coli). The 16 lycopene strain titers diverged from 0 to 0.141 g/l, with MG1655 demonstrating the highest titer (0.141 g/l), while the SURE and W strains expressed the lowest (0 g/l) in an LB medium. When a 2 × YTg medium replaced the MG1655 culture medium, the titer further escalated to 1.595 g/l. These results substantiate that strain selection is vital in metabolic engineering, and further, that MG1655 is a potent host for producing lycopene and other carotenoids with the same lycopene biosynthetic pathway.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; Lycopene; MG1655; metabolic engineering; strain selection.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Carotenoids* / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli* / genetics
  • Escherichia coli* / metabolism
  • Lycopene / metabolism
  • Metabolic Engineering


  • Lycopene
  • Carotenoids
  • Antioxidants