Biosynthesis and Characterization of Zearalenone-14-Sulfate, Zearalenone-14-Glucoside and Zearalenone-16-Glucoside Using Common Fungal Strains.
Zearalenone (ZEN) and its phase II sulfate and glucoside metabolites have been detected in food and feed commodities. After consumption, the conjugates can be hydrolyzed by the human intestinal microbiota leading to liberation of ZEN that implies an underestimation of the true ZEN exposure. To include ZEN conjugates in routine analysis, reliable standards are needed, which are currently not available. Thus, the aim of the present study was to develop a facilitated biosynthesis of ZEN-14-sulfate, ZEN-14-glucoside and ZEN-16-glucoside. A metabolite screening was conducted by adding ZEN to liquid fungi cultures of known ZEN conjugating Aspergillus and Rhizopus strains. Cultivation conditions and ZEN incubation time were varied. All media samples were analyzed for metabolite formation by HPLC-MS/MS. In addition, a consecutive biosynthesis was developed by using Fusarium graminearum for ZEN biosynthesis with subsequent conjugation of the toxin by utilizing Aspergillus and Rhizopus species. ZEN-14-sulfate (yield: 49%) is exclusively formed by Aspergillus oryzae. ZEN-14-glucoside (yield: 67%) and ZEN-16-glucoside (yield: 39%) are formed by Rhizopus oryzae and Rhizopusoligosporus, respectively. Purities of ≥73% ZEN-14-sulfate, ≥82% ZEN-14-glucoside and ≥50% ZEN-16-glucoside were obtained by ¹H-NMR. In total, under optimized cultivation conditions, fungi can be easily utilized for a targeted and regioselective synthesis of ZEN conjugates.