Red mold rice (RMR) is a traditional Chinese medicine prepared using Monascus fermentation. M. ruber (pilosus) and M. purpureus have a long history of use as food and medicine. As an economically important starter culture, the relationship between the taxonomy of Monascus and production capabilities of secondary metabolites is crucial for the Monascus food industry. In this study, monacolin K, monascin, ankaflavin, and citrinin production by M. purpureus and M. ruber were genomically and chemically investigated. Our findings suggest that M. purpureus can produce monascin and ankaflavin in a correlated manner, whereas M. ruber produces monascin with minimum ankaflavin. M. purpureus is capable of producing citrinin; however, it is unlikely able to produce monacolin K. In contrast, M. ruber produces monacolin K, but not citrinin. We suggest that the current monacolin K content-related regulation of Monascus food should be revised, and labeling of Monascus species should be considered.

Abstract Image

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.