Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology

, Volume 39, Issue 12, pp 1771–1778 | Cite as

Enzymatic production and in situ separation of natural β-ionone from β-carotene

  • Christoph Nacke
  • Sonja Hüttmann
  • Maria M. W. Etschmann
  • Jens Schrader


A biotechnological process concept for generation and in situ separation of natural β-ionone from β-carotene is presented. The process employs carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases (CCDs), a plant-derived iron-containing nonheme enzyme family requiring only dissolved oxygen as cosubstrate and no additional cofactors. Organophilic pervaporation was found to be very well suited for continuous in situ separation of β-ionone. Its application led to a highly pure product despite the complexity of the reaction solution containing cell homogenates. Among three different pervaporation membrane types tested, a polyoctylmethylsiloxane active layer on a porous polyetherimide support led to the best results. A laboratory-scale demonstration plant was set up, and a highly pure aqueous–ethanolic solution of β-ionone was produced from β-carotene. The described process permits generation of high-value flavor and fragrance compounds bearing the desired label “natural” according to US and European food and safety regulations and demonstrates the potential of CCD enzymes for selective oxidative cleavage of carotenoids.


Dioxygenase Organophilic pervaporation β-Ionone Flavor Carotenoid 

Supplementary material

10295_2012_1182_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (191 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 190 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Nacke
    • 1
  • Sonja Hüttmann
    • 1
  • Maria M. W. Etschmann
    • 1
  • Jens Schrader
    • 1
  1. 1.DECHEMA Research InstituteBiochemical EngineeringFrankfurtGermany

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