Fermentation for Antioxidants

BOC Sciences offers custom fermentation services for metabolites with antioxidant activity. As a leading CDMO, we offer a one-stop service from strain improvement to fermentation production. Our strong microbial fermentation capabilities support our customers in exploring potential applications for antioxidants in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and food industries.

Introduction of Antioxidants

Antioxidants capture and neutralize free radicals, which are one or more reactive molecules containing unpaired electrons that can damage nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids and cause many diseases, and antioxidants as food supplements can reduce the risk of many diseases. In addition, antioxidants can prevent or delay the oxidation of foods and serve as food additives to improve the stability and extend the storage life of foods.

Major biological sources of natural antioxidants include plants, vegetables, fruits and spices. In addition, microorganisms (e.g., actinomycetes, bacteria, fungi) are potential sources of novel bioactive compounds. Microorganisms can grow at a faster rate under controlled conditions than plants and produce natural bioactive molecules through fermentation as antioxidants in food and nutritional applications.

Fermentation Production of Antioxidants

Fermentation has been used to produce bioactive compounds of interest, such as antioxidant compounds, which are becoming increasingly important in nutrition and health-related industries. Two fermentation strategies are used depending on the type of substrate: submerged fermentation or solid state fermentation.

Submerged fermentation (SmF)

Bioactive compounds produced by microorganisms during fermentation are secreted into liquid media, and SmF is commonly used for the production of secondary metabolites in liquid form. the main advantages of SmF are the possibility of large-scale production of compounds, and the good transfer of mass and heat during fermentation. For example, antioxidant β-carotene is produced by SmF using Trichoderma spp. strains with agro-industrial waste as substrate.

Solid-state fermentation (SSF)

In SSF, fermenting microorganisms are grown on a solid substrate without water, allowing maximum utilization of nutrients in the solid substrate. the advantages of SSF over SmF are high yields, high activity of the final product and low water consumption. By SSF, different compounds are produced, such as some polyphenols, vitamins, organic acids or bioactive peptides with antioxidant effects.

Classification of Fermented Antioxidants

Antioxidants from food by-products sources using fermentationFig. 1 Antioxidants from food by-products sources using fermentation1

Phenolics are secondary metabolites widely found in plants, and hydroxyl substitution confers high reactivity and free radical scavenging ability, making them well known antioxidants.

  • Carotenoids

Carotenoids, also known as tetraterpenoids, are organic pigments produced by plants, algae, bacteria and fungi. Carotenoids are pigments that play a major role in protecting plants from photo-oxidation, and they are effective in scavenging singlet molecular oxygen and peroxyl radicals.

The antioxidant activity of peptides is related to molecular weight, amino acid sequence, and amino acid side chain groups. Antioxidant peptides originate from fermentation processes or enzymatic hydrolysis of proteins.

Although the potential antioxidant mechanisms of polysaccharides are not fully understood, antioxidant polysaccharides isolated from plant, fungal, bacterial, algal and animal sources are thought to enhance cell-mediated immune responses and these polysaccharides may have a role in alternative antioxidant therapies.

Our Advantages

  • Downstream process: Development of downstream treatment processes to enable the purification of compounds with antioxidant potential.
  • Inexpensive substrates: Industrial processing of food products generates large amounts of by-products that are usually discarded, releasing antioxidant compounds through by-product fermentation.
  • Fermentation strategies: A variety of fermentation methods are available, including solid state fermentation, submerged fermentation, fed-batch fermentation and continuous fermentation.
  • Large Scale Production: State-of-the-art FDA certified facilities are with fermentation capability of over 2,000,000 liters.
  • Quality control: Well-established quality system ensures GMP compliance and has passed multiple FDA inspections.


  1. Martí-Quijal, F. J., et al. Obtaining Antioxidants and Natural Preservatives from Food By-Products through Fermentation: A Review, Fermentation, 2021, 7(3), 106.

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