Metabolic engineering of yeast for increased production of cyclopropane fatty acids

Conference Dates

July 14-18, 2019


Biological production of chemicals and fuels using whole cells is an important and growing segment of manufacturing and among the various forms, microorganisms are the most successfully utilized. In particular, yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae are both widely used production organisms and metabolic models for oleaginous yeasts. Fatty acid-containing lipids are one example of moderate value, highly versatile chemicals produced by yeasts that are used in a broad range of industries for lubrication, cosmetics, fuels and polymers. Production levels of standard fatty acids by yeasts has increased enormously over the past 10 years through the application of metabolic pathway engineering, flux analysis, computational approaches and to a lesser extent, bioprocessing improvements. Combined, these advances have brought yeast-based fatty acid production close to commercial reality. Functionalized fatty acids such as those containing hydroxyl or cyclopropyl groups are more valuable as chemical feedstocks and are an attractive target for yeast production as commercial supply is limited. Cyclopropane fatty acids, possessing a strained 3-membered ring and having a saturated chain, are especially attractive as they have application in cosmetics and specialty lubrication. However, cyclopropyl fatty acids present greater challenges for metabolic engineering as they are not produced naturally by yeast.

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