Ergothioneine is a naturally occurring antioxidant that has shown potential in ameliorating neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. In this study, we investigated the potential of the Crabtree-negative, oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica as an alternative host for ergothioneine production. We expressed the biosynthetic enzymes EGT1 from Neurospora crassa and EGT2 from Claviceps purpurea to obtain 158 mg·L-1 of ergothioneine in small-scale cultivation, with an additional copy of each gene improving the titer to 205 mg·L-1 . The effect of phosphate limitation on ergothioneine production was studied, and finally, a phosphate-limited fed-batch fermentation in 1 L bioreactors yielded 1.63 ± 0.04 g·L-1 ergothioneine in 220 h, corresponding to an overall volumetric productivity of 7.41 mg·L-1 ·h-1 , showing that Y. lipolytica is a promising host for ergothioneine production.
Keywords: Yarrowia lipolytica; ergothioneine; metabolic engineering; nutraceutical; phosphate-limitation.
© 2021 The Authors. FEBS Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Federation of European Biochemical Societies.