Sustainable Production of Omega-3 Eicosapentaenoic Acid by Fermentation of Metabolically Engineered Yarrowia lipolytica

  • Dongming XieEmail author
  • Edward Miller
  • Bjorn Tyreus
  • Ethel N. Jackson
  • Quinn Zhu
Part of the Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technology book series (GCST)


The omega-3 fatty acid, cis-5,8,11,14,17-eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5; EPA) has wide-ranging benefits in improving heart health, immune function, and mental health. Currently, the major source for EPA is from fish oil, which is subject to challenges in its availability and sustainability due to the concerns of overfishing and contamination in the ocean environment. DuPont has developed a sustainable source of the omega-3 EPA through fermentation using metabolically engineered strains of Yarrowia lipolytica. EPA biosynthesis and supporting pathways have been engineered to accumulate high EPA content in Yarrowia biomass under fermentation conditions. Many production strain candidates were generated in the molecular biology group, and fermentation research was conducted to (1) identify the best production strains by high throughput fermentation screening; (2) optimize the fermentation medium and process conditions for the selected production strains to achieve the highest EPA titer, rate, and yield; and (3) scale-up the developed fermentation process for commercialization. This chapter summarizes the major fermentation engineering work that has been accomplished at DuPont to achieve large-scale production of Yarrowia biomass with high EPA content. This work led to two commercial products, New Harvest™ EPA oil and Verlasso® sustainably farmed salmon.


Yarrowia lipolytica Omega-3 fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) Fermentation engineering 



We would like to thank Dr. Henry Bryndza and Dr. Michael Saltzberg for their strong support. We also thank all members in the omega-3 technical, manufacturing, and business teams for their collaboration and contributions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongming Xie
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Edward Miller
    • 1
  • Bjorn Tyreus
    • 1
  • Ethel N. Jackson
    • 1
  • Quinn Zhu
    • 1
  1. 1.Industrial BiosciencesE.I. Du Pont de Nemours and CompanyWilmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Massachusetts-LowellLowellUSA

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