ENHANCED BIOTRANSFORMATION OF PHYTOSTEROLS, A BYPRODUCT OF SOYBEAN REFINERIES, TO A KEY INTERMEDIATE USED FOR SYNTHESIS OF STEROIDAL DRUGS
Â Objective: During refining of soybean oil, a phytosterols rich fraction referred as deodistillate is the major byproduct. Phytosterols are the source of valuable precursor for the synthesis of steroidal drugs extensively used in allopathic system of medicine. The present work describes the bioconversion of phytosterols to androst-4-ene-3 17-dione, a key intermediate for the production of steroidal drugs and hormones. Since, phytosterols are insoluble in an aqueous medium, efforts are done to increase the bioavailability using some organic solvents as dispersing agent, and the biotransformation was catalyzed by Mycobacterium fortuitum subsp. fortuitum NCIM 5239, a mutant obtained at Devi Ahilya University, Indore.
Methods: Bioconversion reactions were carried out in triplicate shake flask culture. Some water miscible and water immiscible solvents were used as dispersing agents, and a solution of phytosterols in solvents was added prior to autoclaving. The analysis of converted product was done by quantitative thin layer chromatography.
Results: When compared to the bioconversion recorded with micronized phytosterols as a control for substrate addition, increased bioconversion was observed by ethanol as dispersing agent at a concentration of 4 ml per 0.3% substrate.
Conclusion: Dispersing agents dispersed the phytosterol particles, thereby increasing the bioavailability to the bacterial cells in the medium. Ethanol may be used to improve the yield of bioconversion reactions.
Keywords: Androstenedione, Androst-4-ene-3, 17-dione, Mycobacterium fortuitum, Phytosterols, Steroid bioconversion, Soybean refineri
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