Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 83, Issue 6, pp 989–999 | Cite as

The metabolomics of carotenoids in engineered cell factory

  • Guan-Nan Liu
  • Yue-Hui Zhu
  • Jian-Guo JiangEmail author


Carotenoids such as β-carotene, lycopene, and antheraxanthin have plenty of scientific and commercial value. The comprehensive investigation of carotenoids drives people to improve and develop all kinds of analytical techniques to approach or even achieve “versatile” analysis. The metabolic engineering efforts in plants and algae have progressed rapidly, aiming to enable the use of plants and algae as “cell factories” for producing specific or novel carotenoids, such as β-carotene (provitamin A) in Gold rice, while the emerging technologies of metabolomics support it by providing comprehensive analysis of carotenoids biochemical characterizations. This review describes metabolomics as a high-throughput platform to study carotenoids, including the engineering methods in the plants or algae, the bioinformatics for metabolomics, and the metabolomics of carotenoids in engineered cell factory. Modern systems biology tools, together with the development of genomics and metabolomics databases, will dramatically facilitate the advancement of our knowledge in gene-to-metabolite networks in plants. Metabolomics accompanying genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics as well as bioinformatics facilitate metabolic engineering efforts towards designing superior biocatalysts in cell factories. Ongoing advances in biological techniques coupled with crucial metabolic networks will further promote plants and algae as attractive platforms for the production of numerous high-value compounds such as carotenoids.


Carotenoids Bioinformatics Target analysis Metabolic profiling Metabolic fingerprinting Metabolomics Metabolomic analysis techniques 



This project was supported by the National Natural Foundation of China (Grant 30870025).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Food and BioengineeringSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina

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