Microalgae as a source for VLC-PUFA production

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49 Scopus citations


Microalgae present a huge and still insufficiently tapped resource of very long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFA) for human nutrition and medicinal applications. This chapter describes the diversity of unicellular eukaryotic microalgae in respect to VLC-PUFA biosynthesis. Then, we outline the major biosynthetic pathways mediating the formation of VLC-PUFA by sequential desaturation and elongation of C18-PUFA acyl groups. We address the aspects of spatial localization of those pathways and elaborate on the role for VLC-PUFA in microalgal cells. Recent progress in microalgal genetic transformation and molecular engineering has opened the way to increased production efficiencies for VLC-PUFA. The perspectives of photobiotechnology and metabolic engineering of microalgae for altered or enhanced VLC-PUFA production are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-510
Number of pages40
JournalSub-Cellular Biochemistry
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Biotechnology
  • Diversity
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Microalgae
  • Omega-3 LC-PUFA
  • Omega-6 LC-PUFA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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