Engineering Lactococcus lactis for the production of unusual anthocyanins using tea as substrate

Ana Solopova, Amanda Y. van Tilburg, Alexandre Foito, J. William Allwood, Derek Stewart, Saulius Kulakauskas, Oscar P. Kuipers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Plant material rich in anthocyanins has been historically used in traditional medicines, but only recently have the specific pharmacological properties of these compounds been the target of extensive studies. In addition to their potential to modulate the development of various diseases, coloured anthocyanins are valuable natural alternatives commonly used to replace synthetic colourants in food industry. Exploitation of microbial hosts as cell factories is an attractive alternative to extraction of anthocyanins and other flavonoids from plant sources or chemical synthesis. In this study, we present the lactic acid bacterium Lactococcus lactis as an ideal host for the production of high-value plant-derived bioactive anthocyanins using green tea as substrate. Besides the anticipated red-purple compounds cyanidin and delphinidin, orange and yellow pyranoanthocyanidins with unexpected methylation patterns were produced from green tea by engineered L. lactis strains. The pyranoanthocyanins are currently attracting significant interest as one of the most important classes of anthocyanin derivatives and are mainly formed during the aging of wine, contributing to both colour and sensory experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalMetabolic Engineering
Early online date10 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Anthocyanidin synthase
  • Anthocyanins
  • Cyanidin
  • Delphinidin
  • Lactococcus lactis
  • Pyranoanthocyanins
  • Tea waste
  • UDP-Glucose: anthocyanidin 3-O-Glucosyltransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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