Main content area

Production of α-linolenic acid in Yarrowia lipolytica using low-temperature fermentation

Cordova, Lauren T., Alper, Hal S.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2018 v.102 no.20 pp. 8809-8816
Yarrowia lipolytica, alpha-linolenic acid, bioreactors, canola, fermentation, linseed, omega-3 fatty acids, temperature, yeasts
α-Linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential ω-3 fatty with reported health benefits. However, this molecule is naturally found in plants such as flaxseed and canola which currently limits production. Here, we demonstrate the potential to sustainably produce ALA using the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. Through the use of a recently identified Δ12–15 desaturase (Rk Δ12–15), we were able to enable production in Y. lipolytica. When combined with a previously engineered lipid-overproducing strain with high precursor availability, further improvements of ALA production were achieved. Finally, the cultivation of this strain at lower temperatures significantly increased ALA content, with cells fermented at 20 °C accumulating nearly 30% ALA of the total lipids in this cell. This low-temperature fermentation represents improved ALA titer up to 3.2-fold compared to standard growth conditions. Scale-up into a fed-batch bioreactor produced ALA at 1.4 g/L, representing the highest published titer of this ω-3 fatty acid in a yeast host.