Schizochytrium sp.

Munish Puri, Adarsha Gupta, Shweta Sahni

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Schizochytrium sp. is a member of the family Thraustochytridiaceae, class Labyrinthulomycetes. It is a unicellular eukaryotic marine protist with a ubiquitous presence in the marine environments such as oceanic and coastal waters, low-temperature environments, sediments, and deep-sea waters. These protists are spherical, ranging between 2 and 30 μm (for zoospores) and >30 μm (mature zoosporangium) in diameter. They are classified as an oleaginous microorganism due to their ability to produce single cell oil (SCO) containing nutraceutically important fatty acids, such as the very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLCPUFAs) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPAn6). While biosynthesis of DHA involves the polyketide synthase (PKS) system (an anaerobic pathway) in Schizochytrium sp., other genera within the Thraustochytridiaceae have been reported to also involve the fatty acid synthase (FAS) system (an aerobic pathway) for this process. Schizochytrium oil (rich in DHA content, 35–40% of total lipids) has been acknowledged as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and industrially developed for human consumption. Schizochytrium can utilize a wide range of simple, complex sugars (glycerol, hemp hydrolysate, molasses) and food waste (brewing grain waste, brown seaweed, and potato starch) as carbon sources for producing lipids. Its hydrolytic enzymes (cellobiohydrolase, lipase, and xylanase) have been used in many industrial settings, as an additive in detergents and fatty acid concentration. Biorefinery platform (a framework that integrates biomass conversion to produce high-value bioproducts, increase efficiency and minimises environmental impact) has led to the recovery of carotenoids (astaxanthin), enzymes, ethanol, exopolysaccharides, squalene, and sterols from Schizochytrium biomass.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-873
Number of pages2
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number8
Early online date17 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Schizochytrium sp.
  • Thraustochytridiaceae
  • eukaryotic marine protist
  • marine environment
  • microbes
  • zoosporangia
  • carotenoids


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