LC-PUFA from photosynthetic microalgae: occurrence, biosynthesis, and prospects in biotechnology

  • Inna Khozin-Goldberg
  • Umidjon Iskandarov
  • Zvi Cohen


Microalgae offer potential for numerous commercial applications, among them the production of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs). These valuable fatty acids are important for a variety of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical purposes, and the market for these products is continually growing. An appropriate ratio of LC-PUFA of the ω-3 and ω-6 groups is vital for “healthy” nutrition, and adequate dietary intake has strong health benefits in humans. Microalgae of diverse classes are primary natural producers of LC-PUFA. This mini-review presents an introductory overview of LC-PUFA-related health benefits in humans, describes LC-PUFA occurrence in diverse microalgal classes, depicts the major pathways of their biosynthesis in microalgae, and discusses the prospects for microalgal LC-PUFA production.


Arachidonic acid Desaturase Docosahexaenoic acid Eicosapentaenoic acid LC-PUFA Microalgae 



The authors would like to thank their colleagues from the Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory for fruitful discussions and acknowledge Camille Vainstein for professional English language editing.


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© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inna Khozin-Goldberg
    • 1
  • Umidjon Iskandarov
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zvi Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.The French Associates Institute for Dryland Agriculture and Biotechnologies, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert ResearchBen-Gurion University of the NegevMidreshet Ben-GurionIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Center for Plant Science InnovationUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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