Chinese researchers boost algae lipids, reduce peroxidation

By Ron Kotrba | March 15, 2018

Researchers from Nanjing Tech University in China have published a paper in Biotechnology for Biofuels on their method to increase lipid content and reduce peroxidation in Schizochytrium sp., a marine microalgae rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is touted for its human health benefits.

The researchers say stress induction to induce higher lipid production in this particular algae lowers biomass content in industrial fermentations, and can result in peroxidation of lipids. As a result of these tradeoffs, the researchers sought to develop new production strains possessing high DHA production capacity along with strong antioxidant defenses.  

The work involved a novel, cooperative two-factor adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) strategy. Low-temperature conditions were used to improve the DHA content, and high salinity was applied to stimulate lipid accumulation and enhance the antioxidative defense systems.

“To our best knowledge, this is the first comprehensive study to take into account both lipid overproduction and lipid peroxidation in the fermentation process,” the authors write. “Taken together, the cooperative two-factor ALE process can not only increase the accumulation of lipids rich in DHA, but also prevent the loss of produced lipid caused by lipid peroxidation. The strategy proposed here may provide a new and alternative direction for the industrial cultivation of oil-producing microalgae.”

The authors of the recently published paper are Xiao-Man Sun, Lu-Jing Ren, Zhi-Qian Bi, Xiao-Jun Ji, Quan-Yu Zhao, Ling Jiang and He Huang.

The full research paper can be viewed here.

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