Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Original article

Optimization of lipid production by the oleaginous yeast Lipomyces starkeyi by random mutagenesis coupled to cerulenin screening

Eulalia Tapia V, Andréia Anschau, Alessandro LV Coradini, Telma T Franco and Ana Carolina Deckmann*

Author Affiliations

Biochemical Engineering Laboratory, School of Chemical Engineering, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), P.O. Box 6066, Campinas, SP, 13081-970, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

AMB Express 2012, 2:64  doi:10.1186/2191-0855-2-64

Published: 5 December 2012


In this work we performed assays for the genetic improvement of the oleaginous yeast Lipomyces starkeyi DSM 70296 focusing on its utilization for lipid biosynthesis from renewable sources. The genetic optimization was carried out by random mutagenesis by ultraviolet irradiation and mutant selection by cerulenin, a compound displaying inhibitory effects on lipid biosynthesis. Mutants demonstrating normal growth in presence of cerulenin were considered as good candidates for further studies. Using this strategy, we selected 6 mutants for further studies, in which their productivities were evaluated by fermentation in shaken flasks and bioreactor. The evaluation of the fermentative performance of mutants was carried out using xylose as sole carbon source; the fermentation of wild-type strain was used as reference. Using this strategy it was possible to identify one mutant (termed A1) presenting a significant increase in the productivity rates of both biomass and lipid in comparison to wild-type strain. A1 mutant was further studied in bioreactor using the same fermentation parameters optimized for L. starkeyi lipid production from a mixed carbon source (xylose:glucose), as previously determined by other studies in our laboratory. A1 presented a productivity increase of 15.1% in biomass and 30.7% in lipid productivity when compared to the wild-type strain with a similar fatty acid composition, despite a slight increase (approx. 7%) on the unsaturated fraction. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of the random mutagenesis strategy coupled with mutant selection based on cerulenin screening for the genetic improvement of the oleaginous yeast L. starkeyi.

Lipomyces starkeyi; Oleaginous yeast; Random mutagenesis; Cerulenin; Lipids; Biofuels