Metabolic Engineering of Microalgae For Sustainable Production of Omega-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Author(s): Olga Sayanova, Johnathan A. Napier.

Journal Name: Current Biotechnology

Volume 5 , Issue 3 , 2016

Graphical Abstract:


Background: Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs), are important constituents of human nutrition and have key roles in maintaining health through their effects on immune system. Although marine fish are the main dietary source of EPA and DHA, the depletion of fish stocks and pollution of the marine environment indicate an urgent need for an alternative and sustainable source of omega-3 LC-PUFAs. Marine microorganisms are the primary producers of omega-3 LC-PUFAs in the aquatic food chain and EPA- and DHA-rich microalgae have been demonstrated to be a promising alternative source to fish oils.

Methods: There is increasing interest in the metabolic engineering of microalgae and genetic modification of algal strains is considered to be one of the most promising strategies to produce new sustainable omega-3 oils. The efficient production of high value products such as EPA and DHA from algae is expensive and significant efforts in strain development and cultivation technologies are required to reduce the currently high production costs associated with algal biomass.

Results: This review describes the recent advances in metabolic engineering of microalgae towards optimizing the production of omega-3 LC-PUFAs.

Conclusion: In the last few years an intense research has been performed to maximize microalgal production of omega-3 LC-PUFAs and several bottlenecks that limit the oil accumulation have been identified. By using metabolic engineering it is possible to overcome these barriers and generate improved strains of microalgae.

Keywords: omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, microalgae, metabolic engineering, microbial oil, lipids, EPA, DHA.

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Article Details

Year: 2016
Page: [198 - 212]
Pages: 15
DOI: 10.2174/2211550105666160223214550
Price: $58

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PDF: 11