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Thraustochytrid marine protists: production of PUFAs and other emerging technologies
Raghukumar, S. (2008). Thraustochytrid marine protists: production of PUFAs and other emerging technologies. Mar. Biotechnol. 10(6): 631-640
In: Marine Biotechnology. Springer-Verlag: New York. ISSN 1436-2228, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Adaptation; Biotechnology; Carotenoids; Thraustochytriaceae Sparrow, 1960 [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Raghukumar, S.

    Thraustochytrids, the heterotrophic, marine, straminipilan protists, are now established candidates for commercial production of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (ω-3 PUFA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), that is important in human health and aquaculture. Extensive screening of cultures from a variety of habitats has yielded strains that produce at least 50% of their biomass as lipids, and DHA comprising at least 25% of the total fatty acids, with a yield of at least 5 g L−1. Most of the lipids occur as triacylglycerols and a lesser amount as phospholipids. Numerous studies have been carried out on salinity, pH, temperature, and media optimization for DHA production. Commercial production is based on a fed batch method, using high C/N ratio that favors lipid accumulation. Schizochytrium DHA is now commercially available as nutritional supplements for adults and as feeds to enhance DHA levels in larvae of aquaculture animals. Thraustochytrids are emerging as a potential source of other PUFAs such as arachidonic acid and oils with a suite of PUFA profiles that can have specific uses. They are potential sources of asataxanthin and carotenoid pigments, as well as other lipids. Genes of the conventional fatty acid synthesis and the polyketide-like PUFA synthesis pathways of thraustochytrids are attracting attention for production of recombinant PUFA-containing plant oils. Future studies on the basic biology of these organisms, including biodiversity, environmental adaptations, and genome research are likely to point out directions for biotechnology explorations. Potential areas include enzymes, polysaccharides, and secondary metabolites.

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