Omega-3 Biotechnology: Thraustochytrids as a novel source of omega-3 oils.

Adarsha Gupta, Colin Barrow, Munish Puri

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    129 Citations (Scopus)


    Thraustochytrids are large-celled marine heterokonts and classified as oleaginous microorganisms due to their production of docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) ω-3-fatty acids. The applications of microbial DHA and EPA for human health are rapidly expanding, and a large number of clinical trials have been carried out to verify their efficacy. The development of refined isolation and identification techniques is important for the cultivation of thraustochytrids. With a high proportion of lipid biomass, thraustochytrids are also amenable to various production strategies which increase omega-3 oil output. Modifications to the existing lipid extraction methods and utilisation of sophisticated analytical instruments have increased extraction yields of DHA and EPA. Other metabolites such as enzymes, carotenoids and extracellular polysaccharides can also be obtained from these marine protists. Approaches such as the exploration for more diverse isolates having fast growth rates, metabolic engineering including gene cloning, and growing thraustochytrids on alternate low cost carbon source, will further enhance the biotechnological potential of thraustochytrids.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1733-1745
    Number of pages13
    JournalBiotechnology Advances
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


    • ω-3
    • Biofuel
    • Carotenoids
    • Docosahexaenoic acid
    • Eicosapentaenoic acid
    • Microbial production
    • Oleaginous
    • Thraustochytrids


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