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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 Feb;80(4):1237-44. doi: 10.1128/AEM.03560-13. Epub 2013 Dec 6.

Strain design of Ashbya gossypii for single-cell oil production.

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  • 1Departamento de Microbiología y Genética, Universidad de Salamanca, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, Salamanca, Spain.


Single-cell oil (SCO) represents a sustainable alternative for the oil industry. Accordingly, the identification of microorganisms with either higher lipidogenic ability or novel capacities for the transformation of raw materials constitutes a major challenge for the field of oil biotechnology. With this in mind, here, we were prompted to address the lipidogenic profile of the filamentous hemiascomycete Ashbya gossypii, which is currently used for the microbial production of vitamins. We found that A. gossypii mostly accumulates unsaturated fatty acids (FAs), with more than 50% of the total FA content corresponding to oleic acid. In addition, we engineered A. gossypii strains both lacking the beta-oxidation pathway and also providing ATP-citrate lyase (ACL) activity to block the degradation of FA and to increase the cytosolic acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) content, respectively. The lipidogenic profile of the newly developed strains demonstrates that the mere elimination of the beta-oxidation pathway in A. gossypii triggers a significant increase in lipid accumulation that can reach 70% of cell dry weight. The use of A. gossypii as a novel and robust tool for the production of added-value oils is further discussed.

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