Applied microbiology and biotechnology

Irradiation of Yarrowia lipolytica NRRL YB-567 creating novel strains with enhanced ammonia and oil production on protein and carbohydrate substrates.

PMID 26272089


Increased interest in sustainable production of renewable diesel and other valuable bioproducts is redoubling efforts to improve economic feasibility of microbial-based oil production. Yarrowia lipolytica is capable of employing a wide variety of substrates to produce oil and valuable co-products. We irradiated Y. lipolytica NRRL YB-567 with UV-C to enhance ammonia (for fertilizer) and lipid (for biodiesel) production on low-cost protein and carbohydrate substrates. The resulting strains were screened for ammonia and oil production using color intensity of indicators on plate assays. Seven mutant strains were selected (based on ammonia assay) and further evaluated for growth rate, ammonia and oil production, soluble protein content, and morphology when grown on liver infusion medium (without sugars), and for growth on various substrates. Strains were identified among these mutants that had a faster doubling time, produced higher maximum ammonia levels (enzyme assay) and more oil (Sudan Black assay), and had higher maximum soluble protein levels (Bradford assay) than wild type. When grown on plates with substrates of interest, all mutant strains showed similar results aerobically to wild-type strain. The mutant strain with the highest oil production and the fastest doubling time was evaluated on coffee waste medium. On this medium, the strain produced 0.12 g/L ammonia and 0.20 g/L 2-phenylethanol, a valuable fragrance/flavoring, in addition to acylglycerols (oil) containing predominantly C16 and C18 residues. These mutant strains will be investigated further for potential application in commercial biodiesel production.