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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Sep;88(1):65-73. doi: 10.1007/s00253-010-2722-0. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

Impact of linoleic acid supplementation on lovastatin production in Aspergillus terreus cultures.

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Applied Biotechnology Research Group, Department of Molecular and Applied Biosciences, School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street, W1W 6UW, London, UK.


This work proposes a novel approach for enhancing the yield of lovastatin in Aspergillus terreus cultures by exploiting linoleic acid-derived signalling molecules, which are potentially involved in fungal cell-cell communication. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis revealed that production of lovastatin was enhanced up to 1.8-fold upon exogenous addition of the oxylipin precursor linoleic acid to low cell density cultures of A. terreus. Real-time PCR analysis showed that supplementation of linoleic acid also resulted in an increase in transcriptional levels of lovastatin biosynthetic genes lovB and lovF, indicating a transcriptional control of fatty acids (linoleic acid) on these genes in A. terreus. This study therefore demonstrates for the first time the potential of an oxylipin molecule as an enhancer of a fungal secondary metabolite production with positive impact for industrial exploitation.

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