Research Seminar: Multilevel strain engineering for the production of fuels and chemicals

Dr. Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro, Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London

Tuesday 23rd January, 1.00 p.m., Stacey Lecture Theatre 1


Yarrowia lipolytica is the most studied non-conventional organism for the biotechnological production of lipids and lipid-derived compounds. Its natural capacity to accumulate neutral lipids has been harnessed in the last years, thanks to the increasing knowledge on metabolism and the development of genetic tools that allowed metabolic engineering approaches. In the last years, novel synthetic biology tools have been established making Y. lipolytica easier to engineer, such as CRISRP-Cas9 or the Golden Gate cloning toolbox developed by us.

Despite the huge lipid accumulation in some engineered strains (80 % of Dry Cell Weight as lipids), the process is still not economically feasible. Therefore, novel strategies are required to further decrease the cost of the process.

In this talk, I will show a few examples of how strain engineering, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology can be used to reduce the cost of the overall process. Such examples will be related to 1) the expansion of the substrate range that this yeast can use as carbon source, which allows it to produce lipids from cheaper substrates, 2)the facilitation of the downstream processes, which can represent more than 70% of the total process cost by engineering the secretion of lipids to the culture media and 3) How to increase the value of the final product by converting a precursor molecule into a more expensive lipid-derived compound, such as beta-carotene.