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Cellular Localization and Production of Lovastatin from Monascus purpureus

Author(s): A. Seenivasan, S. Venkatesan and Tapobrata Panda
Department of Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology Raipur, G. E. Road, Raipur-492 010, Chhattisgarh, Biochemical Engineering Laboratory, MSB 140A and 235A, Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai-600036, India

Correspondence Address:
Department of Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology Raipur, G. E. Road, Raipur-492 010, Chhattisgarh, India, E-mail:

Lovastatin is the first FDA-approved antihypercholesterolemic drug for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases with pleiotropic clinical applications. Monascus purpureus is one of the safest molds for the production of lovastatin that has been used in the preparation of Chinese medicine Red-Yeast Rice. This investigation dealt with the effect of both static and dynamic culture conditions on the morphological change and localization of lovastatin in Monascus purpureus. In dynamic culture condition, pellet morphology was observed and the maximum intra- and extra-cellular components of lovastatin including both β-hydroxy acid and lactone forms were found to be 1043.45 and 207.94 μg/l, respectively. Filamentous (mat) form of morphology was observed in the static culture condition and the intra- and extracellular concentration of lovastatin were 677.9 and 789.2 μg/l. Taguchi’s L12 (112) orthogonal arrays was employed to find optimal conditions for the submerged production of lovastatin and for the growth of Monascus purpureus. Three physical and five chemical variables were considered in the current experimental study. The maximum production of lovastatin was observed to be 3.66 mg/l. Among the chemical parameters, MnSO4 and MgSO4 were the most significant parameters for the production of lovastatin. Physical parameters, viz., agitation rate and temperature, were also equally significant to that of medium constituents for the production of lovastatin. The significance of the variables on the biomass growth was just opposite to that the results of lovastatin production. Ammonium chloride was the most significant parameter among the variables studied for the growth of M. purpureus, followed by glucose and phosphorous sources (KH2PO4). Statistical analysis showed that those parameters were significant with more than 99 % confidence (p<0.01).

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