Microbial synthesis of anthocyanins and pyranoanthocyanins: current bottlenecks and potential solutions

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2024 Jun 27:1-18. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2024.2369703. Online ahead of print.


Anthocyanins (ACNs) are secondary metabolites found in plants. Due to their impressive biological activities, ACNs have gained significant popularity and extensive application within the food, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical industries. A derivative of ACNs: pyranoanthocyanins (PACNs) possesses more stable properties and interesting biological activities. However, conventional methods for the production of ACNs, including chemical synthesis and plant extraction, involve organic solvents. Microbial synthesis of ACNs from renewable biomass, such as amino acids or flavonoids, is considered a sustainable and environmentally friendly method for large-scale production of ACNs. Recently, the construction of microbial cell factories (MCFs) for the efficient biosynthesis of ACNs and PACNs has attracted much attention. In this review, we summarize the cases of microbial synthesis of ACNs, and analyze the bottlenecks in reconstructing the metabolic pathways for synthesizing PACNs in microorganisms. Consequently, there is an urgent need to investigate the mechanisms behind the development of MCFs for PACNs synthesis. Such research also holds significant promise for advancing the production of food pigments. Meanwhile, we propose potential solutions to the bottleneck problem based on metabolic engineering and enzyme engineering. Finally, the development prospects of natural food and biotechnology are discussed.

Keywords: Anthocyanins; Biosynthesis; Microbial cell factories; Pyran ring; Pyranoanthocyanins.

Publication types

  • Review