Single cell oils of the cold-adapted oleaginous yeast Rhodotorula glacialis DBVPG 4785
Department of Chemistry-University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, via Campi 183, 41100 Modena, Italy
Microbial Cell Factories 2010, 9:73 doi:10.1186/1475-2859-9-73Published: 23 September 2010
The production of microbial lipids has attracted considerable interest during the past decade since they can be successfully used to produce biodiesel by catalyzed transesterification with short chain alcohols. Certain yeast species, including several psychrophilic isolates, are oleaginous and accumulate lipids from 20 to 70% of biomass under appropriate cultivation conditions. Among them, Rhodotorula glacialis is a psychrophilic basidiomycetous species capable to accumulate intracellular lipids.
Rhodotorula glacialis DBVPG 4785 is an oleaginous psychrophilic yeast isolated from a glacial environment. Despite its origin, the strain abundantly grew and accumulated lipids between -3 to 20°C. The temperature did not influence the yield coefficients of both biomass and lipids production, but had positive effect on the growth rate and thus on volumetric productivity of lipid. In glucose-based media, cellular multiplication occurred first, while the lipogenic phase followed whenever the culture was limited by a nutrient other than glucose. The extent of the carbon excess had positive effects on triacylglycerols production, that was maximum with 120 g L-1 glucose, in terms of lipid concentration (19 g L-1), lipid/biomass (68%) and lipid/glucose yields (16%). Both glucose concentration and growth temperature influenced the composition of fatty acids, whose unsaturation degree decreased when the temperature or glucose excess increased.
This study is the first proposed biotechnological application for Rhodotorula glacialis species, whose oleaginous biomass accumulates high amounts of lipids within a wide range of temperatures through appropriate cultivation C:N ratio. Although R. glacialis DBVPG 4785 is a cold adapted yeast, lipid production occurs over a broad range of temperatures and it can be considered an interesting microorganism for the production of single cell oils.