Production and extraction of carotenoids produced by microorganisms

  • Cassamo Ussemane Mussagy
  • James Winterburn
  • Valéria Carvalho Santos-Ebinuma
  • Jorge Fernando Brandão Pereira


Carotenoids are a group of isoprenoid pigments naturally synthesized by plants and microorganisms, which are applied industrially in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical product formulations. In addition to their use as coloring agents, carotenoids have been proposed as health additives, being able to prevent cancer, macular degradation, and cataracts. Moreover, carotenoids may also protect cells against oxidative damage, acting as an antioxidant agent. Considering the interest in greener and sustainable industrial processing, the search for natural carotenoids has increased over the last few decades. In particular, it has been suggested that the use of bioprocessing technologies can improve carotenoid production yields or, as a minimum, increase the efficiency of currently used production processes. Thus, this review provides a short but comprehensive overview of the recent biotechnological developments in carotenoid production using microorganisms. The hot topics in the field are properly addressed, from carotenoid biosynthesis to the current technologies involved in their extraction, and even highlighting the recent advances in the marketing and application of “microbial” carotenoids. It is expected that this review will improve the knowledge and understanding of the most appropriate and economic strategies for a biotechnological production of carotenoids.


Carotenoids Microorganisms Production Extraction Biotechnology Market 



This research was supported by grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology, High Education and Technical Vocational Training of Mozambique (MCTESTP, Maputo, Mozambique) through the HEST Project—World Bank and the FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation Brazil) through the following projects: 2014/19793-3; 2014/16424-7; 2014/01580-3; and 2017/50303-0. The authors also acknowledge the support from the CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Brazil) and the CAPES (Coordination of Superior Level Staff Improvement, Brazil).

Authors’ contributions

Conceptualization: CUM, VCSE, JW, and JFBP. Literature review: CUM. Writing: CUM, JW, VCSE, and JFBP. Figures: CUM and JFBP. Funding: CUM, JW, VCSE, and JFBP. Validation: CUM, JW, VCSE, and JFBP. Review and editing: CUM, JW, VCSE, and JFBP. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Availability of data and materials

All data are fully available without restriction.

Consent for publication

This manuscript does not contain any individual person’s data.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

No animal or human subjects were used in this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cassamo Ussemane Mussagy
    • 1
  • James Winterburn
    • 2
  • Valéria Carvalho Santos-Ebinuma
    • 1
  • Jorge Fernando Brandão Pereira
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Bioprocesses and Biotechnology, School of Pharmaceutical SciencesSão Paulo State University (UNESP)AraraquaraBrazil
  2. 2.School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical ScienceThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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