Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology Approaches to Enhancing Production of Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Microalgae

Inna Khozin-Goldberg, Olga Sayanova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Interest in microalgal biotechnology for the production of bioactive and nutritional ingredients has increased tremendously with the urgent need for developing renewable bioresources. Microalgae represent a huge and still insufficiently tapped resource of LC-PUFA for human nutrition and health-related applications. Photosynthetic omega-3 and omega-6 LC-PUFA-producing microalgae are potent organisms and synthetic biology chassis for the production of high-value constituents for both health and aquaculture sectors. This chapter covers the diversity of eukaryotic microalgae in relation to their LC-PUFA production and outlines the fundamental role of microalgae as primary producers of LC-PUFA. We provide mechanistic insights into the biosynthesis of LC-PUFA in photosynthetic microalgae and highlight their biotechnological applications. The ongoing research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms by which microalgae of different evolutionary groups synthesize, relocate and incorporate LC-PUFA into complex lipids in the context of their multifaceted cellular organization. This research is supported by the availability of genomic information and ‘omics’ studies in a growing number of species. Recent progress in microalgal genetic transformation, genome editing and metabolic engineering has enabled the manipulation of LC-PUFA biosynthesis. We discuss the prospects for LC-PUFA manufacturing by microalgal biotechnology as a renewable and sustainable alternative to the finite resources of LC-PUFA.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrand Challenges in Biology and Biotechnology
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages41
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameGrand Challenges in Biology and Biotechnology
ISSN (Print)2367-1017
ISSN (Electronic)2367-1025

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


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