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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Jun;37(6):595-602. doi: 10.1007/s10295-010-0706-9. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Reduction of fatty acid flux results in enhancement of astaxanthin synthesis in a mutant strain of Phaffia rhodozyma.

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  • 1State Key Laboratories for Agro-biotechnology and College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, People's Republic of China.


A moderate-temperature mutant strain of the yeast Phaffia rhodozyma, termed MK19, was selected by 1-methyl-3-nitro-1-nitrosoguanidine (NTG) and Co60 mutagenesis. MK19 displayed fast cell growth and elevated astaxanthin content at 25 degrees C, whereas optimal temperature for growth and astaxanthin synthesis of wild-type P. rhodozyma was 17-21 degrees C. Optimized astaxanthin yield for MK19 after 4 days culture in shaking flask at 25 degrees C, determined by response surface methodology, was 25.8 mg/l, which was 17-fold higher than that of the wild-type. MK19 was tolerant of high initial concentration of glucose (>100 g/l) in optimized medium. Total fatty acid content of MK19 was much lower than that of the wild-type. Acetyl-CoA is a common precursor of fatty acid and terpenoid biosynthesis, and it is possible that decreased fatty acid synthesis results in transfer of acetyl-CoA to the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway. Our results indicate that astaxanthin content is negatively correlated with fatty acid content in P. rhodozyma. Nutrient analysis showed that MK19 cells are enriched in lysine, vitamin E, and other rare nutrients, and have potential application as fish food without nutritional supplementation. This moderate-temperature mutant strain is a promising candidate for economical industrial-scale production.

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