Phytoene is a valuable colourless carotenoid, which is used as an ingredient in nutraceuticals as well as in cosmetic products. Its use in formulations has several advantages over other carotenoids due to its stability, photo-insensitivity and long shelf life. In addition, phytoene has beneficial effects on human health because it is an antioxidant which inhibits lipoprotein oxidation and protects against UVB light, while some studies have suggested that it could also have anticancer activity and could decrease cholesterol levels. For these reasons, the demand for phytoene has increased, and new strategies that will allow the production of this bioactive compound in high amounts are needed. The use of in vitro cultures of plants, algae and microorganisms has been suggested as a biotechnological strategy to obtain phytoene. In addition, many tools and strategies are available for metabolic engineering that will allow increasing phytoene to be increased using a variety of in vivo systems. The source of the phytoene biosynthetic pathway genes used, the design of the construction to express the same and the host strains used, among other factors, can modify the efficiency of the process to obtain phytoene in high amounts. This review focuses on the strategies used to enhance the production of phytoene, using in vitro cultures of plants, algae and microorganisms. Special attention is paid to increasing the production of phytoene using metabolic engineering strategies.
- Metabolic engineering