Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 9, pp 3627–3636 | Cite as

The antitumor antibiotic rebeccamycin—challenges and advanced approaches in production processes

  • Kathrin Pommerehne
  • Jana Walisko
  • Anna Ebersbach
  • Rainer KrullEmail author


Rebeccamycin is an antibiotic and antitumor substance isolated from the filamentous bacterium Lentzea aerocolonigenes. After its discovery, investigations of rebeccamycin focused on elucidating its structure, biological activity, and biosynthetic pathway. For potential medical application, a sufficient drug supply has to be ensured, meaning that the production process of rebeccamycin plays a major role. In addition to the natural production of rebeccamycin in L. aerocolonigenes, where the complex cell morphology is an important factor for a sufficient production, rebeccamycin can also be heterologously produced or chemically synthesized. Each of these production processes has its own challenges, and first approaches to production often lead to low final product concentrations, which is why process optimizations are performed. This review provides an overview of the production of rebeccamycin and the different approaches used for rebeccamycin formation including process optimizations.


Lentzea aerocolonigenes Rebeccamycin Morphology engineering Process optimization 


Funding information

This study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the Priority Programme 1934 DiSPBiotech—Dispersity, structural and phase modifications of proteins and biological agglomerates in biotechnological processes.

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathrin Pommerehne
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jana Walisko
    • 1
  • Anna Ebersbach
    • 1
  • Rainer Krull
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Biochemical EngineeringTechnische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany
  2. 2.Center of Pharmaceutical EngineeringTechnische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

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