Engineering oilseeds for sustainable production of industrial and nutritional feedstocks: solving bottlenecks in fatty acid flux

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2007 Jun;10(3):236-44. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2007.04.005. Epub 2007 Apr 16.


Oilseeds provide a unique platform for the production of high-value fatty acids that can replace non-sustainable petroleum and oceanic sources of specialty chemicals and aquaculture feed. However, recent efforts to engineer the seeds of crop and model plant species to produce new types of fatty acids, including hydroxy and conjugated fatty acids for industrial uses and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for farmed fish feed, have met with only modest success. The collective results from these studies point to metabolic 'bottlenecks' in the engineered plant seeds that substantially limit the efficient or selective flux of unusual fatty acids between different substrate pools and ultimately into storage triacylglycerol. Evidence is emerging that diacylglycerol acyltransferase 2, which catalyzes the final step in triacylglycerol assembly, is an important contributor to the synthesis of unusual fatty acid-containing oils, and is likely to be a key target for future oilseed metabolic engineering efforts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aquaculture
  • Biosynthetic Pathways / physiology
  • Crops, Agricultural / metabolism*
  • Diacylglycerol O-Acyltransferase / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism*
  • Industrial Oils / supply & distribution
  • Plant Oils / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Seeds / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Plant Oils
  • Diacylglycerol O-Acyltransferase