Identification of fungal metabolites of anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine

  • Su-Il Kang
  • Seo-Young Kang
  • Hor-Gil Hur
Environmental Biotechnology


Carbamazepine, which has been used in the treatments of epilepsy, is often found in the environment. Although metabolism of carbamazepine by humans and rats has been characterized, the environmental fate of carbamazepine has not been studied. In this study, two model fungi Cunninghamella elegans ATCC 9245 and Umbelopsis ramanniana R-56, which have previously shown diverse metabolic activities, were tested for metabolism of carbamazepine. Both fungi produced three metabolites each (C1–C3 and M1–M3). All six metabolites showed [M + H]+ at m/z 253, suggesting addition of one oxygen to the parent compound. High-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometric analysis detected 10, 11-dihydro-10, 11-epoxycarbamazepine as a major product (C3 (47%) and M3 (85%)) and 3-hydroxycarbamazepine (C2 (15%) and M2 (7%)) from carbamazepine through mixed mono-oxidation reactions in both fungal strains. C. elegans was confirmed to produce 2-hydroxycarbamazepine (C1 (38%)) while U. ramanniana produced a yet unidentified ring-hydroxylated metabolite (M1 (8%)). The current study suggests that carbamazepine is likely to be subjected to initially diverse mono-oxygenation reactions by fungal metabolisms, resulting in the formation of the corresponding metabolites, which were similarly found in mammalian metabolisms.


Carbamazepine Cunninghamella elegans Umbelopsis ramanniana Epoxidation Mono-oxygenation 



This study was funded by United Nations University and Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) Joint Program on Science and Technology for Sustainability, GIST and a grant from the MOST/KOSEF to the Environmental Biotechnology National Core Research Center (Grant #: R15-2003-012-02002-0), Gyoungsang National University, Korea.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Environmental Research CenterGwangju Institute of Science and TechnologyGwangjuKorea
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringGwangju Institute of Science and TechnologyGwangjuKorea

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