Biotechnological Production and Significance of Triacylglycerols and Wax Esters
Global fat, oil, and wax ester demand is forecasted to increase in the next years. Steadily growing biodiesel requirements will lead to an increased demand for vegetable oils, in combination with a constant rise in the consumption of vegetable oil as food and feed. This situation will prompt the use of alternative sources for the production of oils and wax esters during the next years. In this context, microorganisms (yeasts, fungi, microalgae, and bacteria) are receiving increasing attention as alternative oils and wax esters sources. The knowledge acquired during the last decade about the production of bacterial triacylglycerols (TAG) and wax esters (WE) and their fundamental aspects could provide a new production platform for oils. The applied potential of bacterial TAG and WE may be similar to that of vegetable sources, such as additives for feed, cosmetics, oleochemicals, lubricants, and other manufactured products. In addition, bacterial oils could be used for biofuel production. The development of an industrial and commercially significant process may depend on the optimization of engineered cells and the technological procedures. This chapter will focus on the potential biotechnological application of TAG and WE produced by bacteria.
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