Improvement of monacolin K, γ-aminobutyric acid and citrinin production ratio as a function of environmental conditions of Monascus purpureus NTU 601

  • Jyh-Jye Wang
  • Chung-Lin Lee
  • Tzu-Ming Pan
Original Paper


Monascus, a traditional Chinese fermentation fungus, is used as a natural dietary supplement. Its metabolic products monacolin K and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) have each been proven to be a cholesterol-lowering drug and a hypotensive agent. Citrinin, another secondary metabolite, is toxic to humans, thus lowering the acceptability of red mold rice to the general public. In this study, the influence of different carbon and nitrogen sources, and fatty acid or oils, on the production of monacolin K, citrinin and GABA by Monascus purpureus NTU 601 was studied. When 0.5% ethanol was added to the culture medium, the production of citrinin decreased from 813 ppb to 561 ppb while monacolin K increased from 136 mg/kg to 383 mg/kg and GABA increased from 1,060 mg/kg to 7,453 mg/kg. In addition, response surface methodology was used to optimize culture conditions for monacolin K, citrinin and GABA production, and data were collected according to a three-factor (temperature, ethanol concentration and amount of water supplemented), three-level central composite design. When 500 g rice was used as a solid substrate with 120 ml water and 0.3% ethanol, the production of monacolin K at 30°C increased from 136 mg/kg to 530 mg/kg, GABA production increased from 1,060 mg/kg to 5,004 mg/kg and citrinin decreased from 813 ppb to 460 ppb.


Monascus Monacolin K Citrinin GABA Functional food Response surface methodology 


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Microbiology and BiochemistryNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiROC
  2. 2.Department of Industrial Safety and HygieneTajen Institute of TechnologyPingdonROC

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