Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering 2023; 28(3): 371-378  
Ceramide’s Role and Biosynthesis: A Brief Review
Lita Amalia and Shen-Long Tsai
Lita Amalia, Shen-Long Tsai*
Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei 10607, Taiwan
Tel: +886-2-2737-6628; Fax: +886-2-2737-6644
Received: August 31, 2022; Revised: January 12, 2023; Accepted: February 8, 2023; Published online: June 30, 2023.
© The Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The utilization of ceramides, which are members of the sphingolipid family, has been widely acknowledged in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, along with various other applications as therapeutic agents. Most ceramides currently available on the market are synthetic ceramides created through chemical reactions with precursors resembling the natural precursor of sphingolipid production by living organisms. In fact, many organisms ranging from microbes to higher-order mammals natively use metabolism to produce sphingolipids, including ceramides and their derivatives, to support cell molecular functions. Sphingolipids, for instance, are present in the cell membranes of mammals, plants, and yeast to maintain membrane morphology. As a green alternative to the chemical synthesis method, many studies have been carried out to reveal the diversity and characteristics of biologically produced ceramide derivatives. In this review, we summarized the most important aspects of ceramide biosynthesis in general and provide a quick overview of the common organisms producing ceramides. In addition, a brief discussion regarding the role of ceramides in cells and their risks was included. As the biosynthesis of ceramides is an attractive alternative to current commercial methods, the advances reviewed herein demonstrate the untapped potential for the further development of synthetic pathways to enhance biobased-ceramide production.
Keywords: sphingolipid, ceramide, skin-barrier, biosynthesis, characterization, apoptotic

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