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Stimulatory effects of blue light on the growth, monascin and ankaflavin production in Monascus

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Light is an important signal for fungi. We analyzed the influence of blue light of various intensities and illumination times on growth, monascin (MS) and ankaflavin (AK) biosyntheses in Monascus strain M9. Blue light changed the color of colonies. The colonies grown in the dark were orange, but turned pale when exposed to continuous blue light. MS production increased by 12.5, 27, and 14.5 % under blue light of 100 lux for 15 min/day, 100 lux for 30 min/day, and 200 lux for 15 min/day, respectively, compared to growth in the dark. AK production increased by 14.4, 22, and 13 % under the same condition. MS and AK production decreased when exposed to blue light of 300 and 450 lux. The expression of pigment biosynthetic genes were analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR and correlated with phenotypic production of MS and AK.

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We are grateful for the financial support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31330059).

Supporting information

Supplementary Table 1—Primers for RT-qPCR analyzing pigment biosynthetic genes.

Supplementary Figure 1—Mass spectra of monascin (a) and ankaflavin (b).

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Correspondence to Changlu Wang.

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Wang, C., Chen, D., Chen, M. et al. Stimulatory effects of blue light on the growth, monascin and ankaflavin production in Monascus . Biotechnol Lett 37, 1043–1048 (2015).

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