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AstaLys – Bacterial production of Lysin, Astaxanthin and other Carotenoids

Organization name

PROvendis GmbH



L-glutamate and L-lysine already produced with the GRAS organism C. glutamicum in the million-ton scale every year for the food and feed markets with a market value expected to reach US$ 15.5 billion for glutamate and US$ 5.9 billion for Lysine. Carotenoids, the colourful representatives of tetraterpenoids act as antioxidants and are therefore attractive components for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications.

Especially the annual demand of the feed additive astaxanthin is estimated to be 130 tons e.g. for aquaculture and poultry breeding with an expected value of US$ 423 million in 2019. The present invention provides a fermentative method of producing astaxanthin in conjunction with lysine via recombinant gram-positive bacteria.

For industrial fermentations usage of different carbon sources which are available in high quantities at low prices are possible, while competition with the food and feed resources can be avoided.

Moreover also high value compounds including the sesquiterpenoid valencene, the C40 carotenoids b-carotene and astaxanthin can be synthesised with this microorganism.

Commercial Opportunities

Chemical industry is facing an increasing demand on food and feed composites. Therefore, in seek for alternative and renewable sources, bacterial fermentation has become into focus in several chemical production areas. The offered invention provides such a source for astaxanthin, lysin and other carotenoid production.

Competitive Advantages

  • Renewable source for high value carotenoids
  • New biosynthetic route
  • Besides lysine also different carotenoids, astaxanthin or decaprenoxanthin reachable
  • Simultaneous production of amino acids, carotenoids and astaxanthin
  • Only one fermentation step for multiple target compounds
  • Simple extraction of products from C. glutamicum cells

Current Status

Simultaneous production of lysine, astaxanthin and other carotenoids has been tested in a laboratory scale. This production of C40/C50 carotenoids and the amino acid lysine in one cultivation is possible with the strains used and constructed in this invention. Up-scaling for industrial usage in terms of fermentation conditions needs to be established.

On behalf of the University of Bielefeld, PROvendis offers access to rights for commercial use as well as the opportunity for further co-development. In case of interest we will be pleased to inform you about the patent status.

Relevant Publications

Henke, N.A., et al. (2017) Carotenoid production by Corynebacterium: The workhorse of industrial amino acid production as host for production of a broad spectrum of C40 and C50 carotenoids. In: Carotenoids. Cvetković D (Ed); 1st ed. Rijeka, Croatia: Chapter 10: 159-173.

Henke, N.A., et al. (2016) Production of the marine carotenoid astaxanthin by metabolically engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum. Marine Drugs. 14(7): 124

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