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A survey of yeast from the Yarrowia clade for lipid production in dilute acid pretreated lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysate

Josh Quarterman, Patricia J. Slininger, Cletus P. Kurtzman, Stephanie R. Thompson, Bruce S. Dien
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2017 v.101 no.8 pp. 3319-3334
Candida, Panicum virgatum, Yarrowia lipolytica, aerobic conditions, biomass, cell growth, fatty acids, feedstocks, hydrolysates, lignocellulose, models, oils, physiology, screening, surveys, yeasts
Yarrowia lipolytica is an oleaginous yeast species that has attracted attention as a model organism for synthesis of single cell oil. Among over 50 isolates of Y. lipolytica identified, only a few of the strains have been studied extensively. Furthermore, 12 other yeast species were recently assigned to the Yarrowia clade, and most are not well characterized in terms of cell growth and lipid accumulation, especially in industrially relevant conditions. In the present study, we investigated biomass and lipid production by 57 yeast isolates, representing all 13 species in the Yarrowia clade, on a non-detoxified dilute acid-pretreated switchgrass hydrolysate under highly aerobic conditions. The objective was to compare yeast physiology during growth in an abundant, low-cost biomass feedstock and to expand diversity of genetically tractable, oleaginous yeasts available for lipid research. Screening of 45 Y. lipolytica isolates demonstrated considerable variation within the species in terms of lipid accumulation (min = 0.1 g/L; max = 5.1 g/L; mean = 2.3 g/L); three strains (NRRL YB-420, YB-419, and YB-392) were especially promising for cellulosic biomass conversion with average improvements of 43, 57, and 64%, respectively, in final lipid titer as compared to control strain W29. Subsequently, evaluation of strains from 13 distinct species in the Yarrowia clade identified Candida phangngensis PT1-17 as the top lipid producer with a maximum titer of 9.8 g/L lipid, which was over twofold higher than the second-best species in the clade (Candida hollandica NRRL Y-48254). A small set of the most promising strains from the screenings was further characterized to evaluate inhibitor tolerance, lipid production kinetics, and fatty acid distribution. We expect that the results of this study will pave the way for new biotechnological applications involving previously overlooked and under-characterized strains within the Yarrowia clade.