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Progress of arachidonic acid biosynthesis in microorganisms
Date:5/28/2012

Single cell oils (SCO), produced by and extracted from some single-celled microorganisms, are featured with high levels of the major very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). SCO are essential for health and potential sources of bio-diesel. There has been a long history of interest in the exploitation of microorganisms as oil and fat providers, due to the continuing diminution of arable land and climate change making animal and plant sourced oils even more limited. However, such endeavor has been progressing hardly, mostly because the efficiencies of oil synthesis by microorganisms are normally too low to be applied in industry at a reasonable price.

The article "Ion-beam-mutation breeding of an arachidonic acid biosynthesis microorganism and its industrial fermentation control" , by Z. L. Yu and Q. Huang et al., from the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, published in Chinese Science Bulletin (2012) 57: 883, has started to shed light on this issue. Cells of the oil-producing fungus Mortierella alpine were genetically modified by their patented technology, known as ion beam biotechnology, and screened using procedures tailored for oil yield. They obtained one strain: 50% of its biomass was fatty acids, of which 70% is arachidonic acid.

In their report "Fats and oils in human nutrition" released in 1993, the FAO and WHO suggested that diet for infants, especially preterm infants and infants with insufficient breast-feeding, should be supplemented with adequate amounts of fatty acids with composition corresponding to fatty acids contained in breast-milk. AA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are particularly important for brain development but only found in breast milk naturally. Therefore it has become a long-term focus developing AA-rich oil in microorganisms.

Over two decades ago, the authors started the project by implanting energetic ions, generated by an ion source and accelerated to certain
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Contact: Feng Huiyun
zlyu@ipp.ac.cn
Science in China Press
Source:Eurekalert

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