Extracellular oil production by Rhodotorula paludigena BS15 for biorefinery without complex downstream processes

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2023 Nov;107(22):6799-6809. doi: 10.1007/s00253-023-12762-3. Epub 2023 Sep 19.


To realize biomass refinery without complex downstream processes, we extensively screened for microbial strains that efficiently produce extracellular oil from sugars. Rhodotorula paludigena (formerly Rhodosporidium paludigenum) BS15 was found to efficiently produce polyol esters of fatty acids (PEFAs), which mainly comprised of 3-acetoxypalmitic acid and partially acetylated mannitol/arabinitol. To evaluate the performance of this strain, fed-batch fermentation was demonstrated on a flask scale, and 110 g/L PEFA and 103 g/L dry cells were produced in 12 days. To the best of our knowledge, the strain BS15 exhibited the highest PEFA titer (g/L) ever to be reported so far. Because the PEFA precipitated at the bottom of the culture broth, it could be easily recovered by simply discarding the upper phase. Various carbon sources can be utilized for cell growth and/or PEFA production, which signifies the potential for converting diverse biomass sources. Two different types of next-generation sequencers, Illumina HiSeq and Oxford Nanopore PromethION, were used to analyze the whole-genome sequence of the strain BS15. The integrative data analysis generated a high-quality and reliable reference genome for PEFA-producing R. paludigena. The 22.5-M base genome sequence and the estimated genes were registered in Genbank (accession numbers BQKY01000001-BQKY01000019). KEY POINTS: • R. paludigena BS15 was isolated after an extensive screening of extracellular oil producers from natural sources. • Fed-batch fermentation of R. paludigena BS15 yielded 110 g/L of PEFA, which is the highest titer ever reported to date. • Combined analysis using Illumina and Oxford Nanopore sequencers produced the near-complete genome sequence.

Keywords: Biorefinery; High titer production; Polyol esters of fatty acids (PEFA); Rhodosporidium paludigenum; Rhodotorula paludigena.