Carotenoids are natural pigments that can be synthesized by various microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, filamentous fungi and microalgae. These pigments comprise around 700 different structures with peculiar colors and biological properties that are beneficial to health. Advantages of biotechnological production of carotenoids include the ability of microorganisms to use low cost substrates, the optimized control of cultivation, minimized production time and the natural origin of the synthesized pigments. Techniques for separation and purification of carotenoids are well established at laboratory scale, however the development of processes that can be economically scaled-up is essential for industrial production.
Key words: Carotenoids, microorganisms, biotechnology, natural pigments.
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