Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 7, pp 2859–2866 | Cite as

Growth condition optimization for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) production by Moritella marina MP-1

  • Kumar B. Kautharapu
  • John Rathmacher
  • Laura R. Jarboe
Biotechnological products and process engineering


The marine organism Moritella marina MP-1 produces the polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While the basic metabolic pathway for DHA production in this organism has been identified, the impact of growth conditions on DHA production is largely unknown. This study examines the effect of supplemental carbon, nitrogen and salts, growth temperature and media composition and pH on DHA and biomass production and the fatty acid profile. The addition of supplemental nitrogen significantly increased the overall DHA titer via an increase in biomass production. Supplemental glucose or glycerol increased biomass production, but decreased the amount of DHA per biomass, resulting in no net change in the DHA titer. Acidification of the baseline media pH to 6.0 increased DHA per biomass. Changes in growth temperature or provision of supplemental sodium or magnesium chloride did not increase DHA titer. This organism was also shown to grow on defined minimal media. For both media types, glycerol enabled more DHA production per biomass than glucose. Combination of these growth findings into marine broth supplemented with glycerol, yeast extract, and tryptone at pH 6.0 resulted in a final titer of 82 ± 5 mg/L, a nearly eightfold increase relative to the titer of 11 ± 1 mg/L seen in the unsupplemented marine broth. The relative distribution of other fatty acids was relatively robust to growth condition, but the presence of glycerol resulted in a significant increase in myristic acid (C14:0) and decrease in palmitic acid (C16:0). In summary, DHA production by M. marina MP-1 can be increased more than fivefold by changing the growth media. Metabolic engineering of this organism to increase the amount of DHA produced per biomass could result in additional increases in titer.


Moritella marina MP-1 Polyunsaturated fatty acids Membrane fluidity Polyketide Marine broth 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kumar B. Kautharapu
    • 1
  • John Rathmacher
    • 2
  • Laura R. Jarboe
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemical and Biological EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Metabolic Technologies IncAmesUSA

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