Metabolic engineering to improve algal lipid production for food, feed and aviation fuels

Project: PhD

Project Details


Microlgae show great potential for replacing fossil fuels in the near future. However, strains and technologies must be improved in order to reach an economically feasible bulk production. Nannochloropsis oceanica is a microalgal specie with high natural lipid production and accumulation (50-60% DW), in addition to producing high contents of the omega-3 fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 7-10% of total lipids). Recent efforts in understanding lipid accumulation in Nannochloropsis provided omics data (e.g. transcriptomics, lipidomics) and physiological data for various conditions, which can now be combined into a metabolic model. In addition, molecular biology tools are already available for N. oceanica (e.g. CRISPR and transformation techniques). Metabolic modeling of microalgal metabolism is key to understanding carbon partitioning mechanisms, and provides insights for strain engineering. Metabolic engineering based on the model predictions can then steer the microalgae to form specific products and lipid compositions at increased production rates. Aim Developing and testing a metabolic model of Nannochloropsis oceanica, to improve understanding of lipid metabolism and to further advance Nannochloropsis as cell factory for specific lipid products.
Effective start/end date1/10/19 → …


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