Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 90, Issue 4, pp 1193–1206 | Cite as

An overview of lipid metabolism in yeasts and its impact on biotechnological processes

  • Athanasios Beopoulos
  • Jean-Marc Nicaud
  • Claude GaillardinEmail author


High energy prices, depletion of crude oil supplies, and price imbalance created by the increasing demand of plant oils or animal fat for biodiesel and specific lipid derivatives such as lubricants, adhesives, and plastics have given rise to heated debates on land-use practices and to environmental concerns about oil production strategies. However, commercialization of microbial oils with similar composition and energy value to plant and animal oils could have many advantages, such as being non-competitive with food, having shorter process cycle and being independent of season and climate factors. This review focuses on the ongoing research on different oleaginous yeasts producing high added value lipids and on the prospects of such microbial oils to be used in different biotechnological processes and applications. It covers the basic biochemical mechanisms of lipid synthesis and accumulation in these organisms, along with the latest insights on the metabolic processes involved. The key elements of lipid accumulation, the mechanisms suspected to confer the oleaginous character of the cell, and the potential metabolic routes enhancing lipid production are also extensively discussed.


Yeast Lipid metabolism Bio-oils Biotechnology Genetic engineering 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Athanasios Beopoulos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean-Marc Nicaud
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claude Gaillardin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.AgroParisTechUMR1319, Micalis, Centre de Biotechnologie Agro-IndustrielleThiverval-GrignonFrance
  2. 2.INRAUMR1319, Micalis, Centre de Biotechnologie Agro-IndustrielleThiverval-GrignonFrance

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