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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2010 May;36(2):146-67. doi: 10.3109/10408410903489576.

Production of microbial secondary metabolites: regulation by the carbon source.

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Departamento de Biología Molecular y Biotecnología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 04510, México.


Microbial secondary metabolites are low molecular mass products, not essential for growth of the producing cultures, but very important for human health. They include antibiotics, antitumor agents, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and others. They have unusual structures and are usually formed during the late growth phase of the producing microorganisms. Its synthesis can be influenced greatly by manipulating the type and concentration of the nutrients formulating the culture media. Among these nutrients, the effect of the carbon sources has been the subject of continuous studies for both, industry and research groups. Different mechanisms have been described in bacteria and fungi to explain the negative carbon catabolite effects on secondary metabolite production. Their knowledge and manipulation have been useful either for setting fermentation conditions or for strain improvement. During the last years, important advances have been reported on these mechanisms at the biochemical and molecular levels. The aim of the present review is to describe these advances, giving special emphasis to those reported for the genus Streptomyces.

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