University Of Tasmania

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Biodiscovery of new Australian thraustochytrids for production of biodiesel and long-chain omega-3 oils

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 16:03 authored by Lee Chang, KJ, Dunstan, GA, Abell, GCJ, Clementson, LA, Blackburn, SI, Nichols, PD, Anthony KoutoulisAnthony Koutoulis
Heterotrophic growth of thraustochytrids has potential in co-producing a feedstock for biodiesel and long-chain (LC, ≥C 20) omega-3 oils. Biodiscovery of thraustochytrids from Tasmania (temperate) and Queensland (tropical), Australia, covered a biogeographic range of habitats including fresh, brackish, and marine waters. A total of 36 thraustochytrid strains were isolated and separated into eight chemotaxonomic groups (A-H) based on fatty acid (FA) and sterol composition which clustered closely with four different genera obtained by 18S rDNA molecular identification. Differences in the relative proportions (�) of long-chain C 20, C 22, omega-3, and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), docosapentaenoic acid, arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and saturated FA, as well as the presence of odd-chain PUFA (OC-PUFA) were the major factors influencing the separation of these groups. OC-PUFA were detected in temperate strains of groups A, B, and C (Schizochytrium and Thraustochytrium). Group D (Ulkenia) had high omega-3 LC-PUFA (53% total fatty acids (TFA)) and EPA up to 11.2% TFA. Strains from groups E and F (Aurantiochytrium) contained DHA levels of 50-61% TFA after 7 days of growth in basal medium at 20°C. Groups G and H (Aurantiochytrium) strains had high levels of 15:0 (20-30% TFA) and the sum of saturated FA was in the range of 32-51%. β,β-Carotene, canthaxanthin, and astaxanthin were identified in selected strains. Phylogenetic and chemotaxonomic groupings demonstrated similar patterns for the majority of strains. Our results demonstrate the potential of these new Australian thraustochytrids for the production of biodiesel in addition to omega-3 LC-PUFA-rich oils. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation


Publication title

Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology










School of Natural Sciences



Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2012 Springer.

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Socio-economic Objectives

Biofuel energy