Medical properties, market potential, and microbial production of golden polyketide curcumin for food, biomedical, and cosmetic applications

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2024 Mar 21:87:103112. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2024.103112. Online ahead of print.


Curcumin, a potent plant polyketide in turmeric, has gained recognition for its outstanding health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. Classical turmeric farming, which is widely used to produce curcumin, is linked to deforestation, soil degradation, excessive water use, and reduced biodiversity. In recent years, the microbial synthesis of curcumin has been achieved and optimized through novel strategies, offering increased safety, improved sustainability, and the potential to revolutionize production. Here, we discuss recent breakthroughs in microbial engineering and fermentation techniques, as well as their capacity to increase the yield, purity, and cost-effectiveness of curcumin production. The utilization of microbial systems not only addresses supply chain limitations but also helps meet the growing demand for curcumin in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, foods, and cosmetics.

Publication types

  • Review