The oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica possesses a high capacity of accumulating lipids in its biomass, even when grown on sugars as a carbon source. This makes this organism an attractive platform for its utilization in biotechnological processes that aim at producing fatty acids and other lipids, which have different applications, among them the production of biodiesel. Currently, this biofuel is obtained from vegetable sources, namely from vegetable edible oils, which characterizes the undesired situation of competition between fuel and food production. In this project, we aim at quantifying the formation of lipid bodies during the growth of Y. lipolytica on sucrose (a cheap carbon source), xylose (a sugar present in lignocellulosic hydrolyzates) and glycerol (a by-product of the biodiesel industry), always under nitrogen limitation, a situation that favors lipid accumulation in this yeast. For this purpose, chemostat cultivations will be performed at different dilution rates, as well as fluorescence microscopy analyses. We aim at obtaining results that allow us to evaluate the influence of the strain background (3 strains of Y. lipolytica will be employed), of the carbon source and of the specific growth rate on the capacity of this yeast to accumulate lipids.
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