Production of fatty acid-derived oleochemicals and biofuels by synthetic yeast cell factories

Nat Commun. 2016 May 25:7:11709. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11709.


Sustainable production of oleochemicals requires establishment of cell factory platform strains. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an attractive cell factory as new strains can be rapidly implemented into existing infrastructures such as bioethanol production plants. Here we show high-level production of free fatty acids (FFAs) in a yeast cell factory, and the production of alkanes and fatty alcohols from its descendants. The engineered strain produces up to 10.4 g l(-1) of FFAs, which is the highest reported titre to date. Furthermore, through screening of specific pathway enzymes, endogenous alcohol dehydrogenases and aldehyde reductases, we reconstruct efficient pathways for conversion of fatty acids to alkanes (0.8 mg l(-1)) and fatty alcohols (1.5 g l(-1)), to our knowledge the highest titres reported in S. cerevisiae. This should facilitate the construction of yeast cell factories for production of fatty acids derived products and even aldehyde-derived chemicals of high value.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkanes / metabolism*
  • Biofuels
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / biosynthesis*
  • Fatty Alcohols / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Engineering*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*


  • Alkanes
  • Biofuels
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Fatty Alcohols