Production of High-Value Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Using Microbial Cultures

  • Mingjie JinEmail author
  • Rui Zhai
  • Zhaoxian Xu
  • Zhiqiang Wen
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1995)


Microbes can produce not only commodity fatty acids, such as palmitic acid (16:0) and stearic acid (18:0), but also high-value fatty acids (essential fatty acids). Most high value fatty acids belong to long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), such as omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) and omega-6 fatty acids (e.g., arachidonic acid (ARA) and γ-linolenic acid (GLA)). EPA (20:5n-3) is a 20-carbon fatty acid with five double bonds, and the first double bond is in the n-3 position. DHA (22:6n-3) is a 22-carbon fatty acid with 6 double bonds and the first double bond is also in the n-3 position. Both EPA and DHA play an essential role in cardiovascular health including prevention of atherosclerotic disease development (Zehr and Walker, Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat 134:131–140, 2018). ARA (20:4n-6) is a 20-carbon fatty acid with four double bonds, and the first double bond is in the n-6 position. GLA (18:3n-6) is an 18-carbon fatty acid with three double bonds, and the first double bond is in the n-6 position. ARA and GLA have multiple biological effects, such as lowering blood cholesterol, and lowering cardiovascular mortality (Poli and Visioli, Eur J Lipid Sci Technol 117(11):1847–1852, 2015). This chapter provides details on microbial production of EAP, DHA, ARA, and GLA.

Key words

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Arachidonic acid (RA) γ-Linolenic acid (GLA) Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-6 fatty acids 



This work was supported by “Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province,” Grant No. BK20170037. “National Key R&D Program of China,” Grant No. 2016YFE0105400, and “The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities,” Grant No. 30916011202.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mingjie Jin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rui Zhai
    • 1
  • Zhaoxian Xu
    • 1
  • Zhiqiang Wen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environmental and Biological EngineeringNanjing University of Science and TechnologyNanjingChina

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