Fungal quinones: diversity, producers, and applications of quinones from Aspergillus, Penicillium, Talaromyces, Fusarium, and Arthrinium

J. V. Christiansen, T. Isbrandt, C. Petersen, T. E. Sondergaard, M. R. Nielsen, T. B. Pedersen, J. L. Sørensen, T. O. Larsen, J. C. Frisvad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review

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Quinones represent an important group of highly structurally diverse, mainly polyketide-derived secondary metabolites widely distributed among filamentous fungi. Many quinones have been reported to have important biological functions such as inhibition of bacteria or repression of the immune response in insects. Other quinones, such as ubiquinones are known to be essential molecules in cellular respiration, and many quinones are known to protect their producing organisms from exposure to sunlight. Most recently, quinones have also attracted a lot of industrial interest since their electron-donating and -accepting properties make them good candidates as electrolytes in redox flow batteries, like their often highly conjugated double bond systems make them attractive as pigments. On an industrial level, quinones are mainly synthesized from raw components in coal tar. However, the possibility of producing quinones by fungal cultivation has great prospects since fungi can often be grown in industrially scaled bioreactors, producing valuable metabolites on cheap substrates. In order to give a better overview of the secondary metabolite quinones produced by and shared between various fungi, mainly belonging to the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Talaromyces, Fusarium, and Arthrinium, this review categorizes quinones into families such as emodins, fumigatins, sorbicillinoids, yanuthones, and xanthomegnins, depending on structural similarities and information about the biosynthetic pathway from which they are derived, whenever applicable. The production of these quinone families is compared between the different genera, based on recently revised taxonomy. 
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Pages (from-to)8157-8193
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Anthraquinones
  • Arthrinium
  • Aspergillus
  • Benzoquinones
  • Fusarium
  • Naphtoquinones
  • Penicillium
  • Quinones
  • Talaromyces


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