Strain improvement and immobilization technique for enhanced production of the anticancer drug paclitaxel by Aspergillus fumigatus and Alternaria tenuissima

  • El-Sayed R. El-SayedEmail author
  • Ashraf S. Ahmed
  • Ismail A. Hassan
  • Ahmed A. Ismaiel
  • Al-Zahraa A. Karam El-Din
Applied microbial and cell physiology


UV and gamma irradiation mutagenesis was applied on Aspergillus fumigatus and Alternaria tenuissima in order to improve their producing ability of paclitaxel. Among the screened mutants, two stable strains (designated TXD105–GM6 and TER995–GM3) showed the maximum paclitaxel production. Paclitaxel titers of the two respective mutants were dramatically intensified to 1.22- and 1.24-fold, as compared by their respective parents. Immobilization using five different entrapment carriers of calcium alginate, agar-agar, Na-CMC, gelatin, and Arabic gum was successfully applied for production enhancement of paclitaxel by the two mutants. The immobilized cultures were superior to free-cell cultures and paclitaxel production by the immobilized mycelia was much higher than that of the immobilized spores using all the tried carriers. Moreover, calcium alginate gel beads were found the most conductive and proper entrapment carrier for maximum production of paclitaxel. The feasibility of the paclitaxel production by the immobilized mycelia as affected by incubation period, medium volume, and number of beads per flask was adopted. Under the favorable immobilization conditions, the paclitaxel titers were significantly intensified to 1.31- and 1.88-fold by the respective mutants, as compared by their free cultures. The obtained paclitaxel titers by the immobilized mycelia of the respective mutants (694.67 and 388.65 μg L−1) were found promising in terms of fungal production of paclitaxel. Hence, these findings indicate the future possibility to reduce the cost of producing paclitaxel and suggest application of the immobilization technique for the biotechnological production of paclitaxel at an industrial scale.


Paclitaxel A. fumigatus A. tenuissima Immobilization Mutation Anticancer 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Research Department, Nuclear Research CenterAtomic Energy Authority of EgyptCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Botany and Microbiology, Faculty of ScienceZagazig UniversityZagazigEgypt
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of ScienceAin Shams UniversityCairoEgypt

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