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Optimization of docosahexaenoic acid production by Schizochytrium limacinum SR21


Culture conditions of Schizochytrium limacinum SR21 for the purpose of microbial docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) production were investigated. The strain SR21 showed a wide tolerance to salinity; that is, the optimum salinity was between 50% and 200% that of sea water. Monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and glycerol supported good cell growth and DHA yield. Di- and polysaccharides, oleic acid, and linseed oil gave low DHA yields. A high content of DHA (more than 30% of total fatty acids) was obtained from culture on glucose, fructose, and glycerol, and also the strain had simple polyunsaturated fatty acid profiles. The major polyunsaturated fatty acids other than DHA were n-6 docosapentaenoic acid only, and the contents of icosapentaenoic acid and arachidonic acid were less than 1%. Using corn steep liquor as a nitrogen source, a high total fatty acid content was obtained. The total fatty acid content in the dry cell weight increased as the concentration of the nitrogen source decreased, reached more than 50%. An increase in carbon source concentration led to a high DHA yield. A maximum DHA yield of more than 4 g/l was obtained in both glucose and glycerol media at 9% and 12% respectively. S. limacinum SR21 was thought to be a promising resource for microbial DHA production yielding a good level of productivity as well as a simple polyunsaturated fatty acid profile.

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Received: 26 June 1997 / Received revision: 29 August 1997  / Accepted: 19 September 1997

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Yokochi, T., Honda, D., Higashihara, T. et al. Optimization of docosahexaenoic acid production by Schizochytrium limacinum SR21. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 49, 72–76 (1998).

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  • Docosahexaenoic Acid
  • Corn Steep Liquor
  • Total Fatty Acid Content
  • Optimum Salinity
  • Docosapentaenoic Acid