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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016 Oct;100(19):8303-13. doi: 10.1007/s00253-016-7788-x. Epub 2016 Aug 23.

Biosynthetic gene clusters for relevant secondary metabolites produced by Penicillium roqueforti in blue cheeses.

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Instituto de Biotecnología de León, INBIOTEC, Avda. Real n°1, 24006, León, Spain.
Área de Microbiología, Departamento de Biología Molecular, Universidad de León, 24071, León, Spain.


Ripening of blue-veined cheeses, such as the French Bleu and Roquefort, the Italian Gorgonzola, the English Stilton, the Danish Danablu or the Spanish Cabrales, Picón Bejes-Tresviso, and Valdeón, requires the growth and enzymatic activity of the mold Penicillium roqueforti, which is responsible for the characteristic texture, blue-green spots, and aroma of these types of cheeses. This filamentous fungus is able to synthesize different secondary metabolites, including andrastins, mycophenolic acid, and several mycotoxins, such as roquefortines C and D, PR-toxin and eremofortins, isofumigaclavines A and B, and festuclavine. This review provides a detailed description of the main secondary metabolites produced by P. roqueforti in blue cheese, giving a special emphasis to roquefortine, PR-toxin and mycophenolic acid, and their biosynthetic gene clusters and pathways. The knowledge of these clusters and secondary metabolism pathways, together with the ability of P. roqueforti to produce beneficial secondary metabolites, is of interest for commercial purposes.


Blue cheese; Mycophenolic acid; PR-toxin; Penicillium roqueforti; Roquefortine

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