, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 784-789

Effect of various nutrient limitations on fatty acid production by Rhodotorula glutinis

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The effects of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), zinc (Zn) or iron (Fe) limitations on lipid and especially α-linolenic acid (ALA) synthesis in the oleaginous yeast Rhodotorula glutinis have been investigated. Exhaustion of the limiting element in the medium resulted in an enhancement of both the fatty acid cell content (FA/X) and the corresponding productivity. Except for Fe-limited media, lipid accumulation was always coupled with an increase in the yield of ALA synthesis, whereas in all the limiting conditions the productivity of ALA declined. Kinetic investigations showed that this decline resulted from a sharp decrease in the specific rates of ALA synthesis associated with slowing down of growth. A comparative study showed that the highest yields and specific rates of fatty acid and ALA synthesis were induced by P-limitation early in the lipid accumulation phase. However, above a FA/X of 15%, N-limiting conditions become more attractive for producing lipids. During P-limited growth a down-shift of temperature from 30° C to 25° C was shown ao reduce the range of FA/X values at which the specific rate of fatty acid synthesis was maximal but without any other effect on fatty acid formation. In contrast, the decreased temperature resulted in enhanced ALA production by maintaining the specific rate of synthesis near to the maximal value of 3.6 mg g X −1 h−1, where X* is free fatty acid biomass, and increased the corresponding yield by a factor of up to three.

Correspondence to: A. Pareilleux