Oliver Konzock, Systems & Synthetic Biology

​​​"Genetic engineering of Yarrowia lipolytica for the sustainable production of food oils"

​​​Opponent: Lecturer Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Supervisor: Researcher Joakim Norbeck, Chalmers
Examiner: Professor Jens Nielsen, Chalmers

The human population is constantly growing. And so is its demand for food oils. However, an increase in food oil production currently requires the deforestation of mostly tropical rainforests to allow the plantation of oil crops. Because of the massive risks caused by climate change and increased awareness of biodiversity, we need to find alternative ways to produce food oils.
Help could come from the tiniest living beings on earth – microorganisms. Microorganisms have been isolated and cultivated to produce a variety of products. A very promising host organism is the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. One of its characteristics is the ability to accumulate high amounts of fat, making it especially interesting to produce fatty acid-derived products, such as food oils.
This thesis explores four different approaches to advance Y. lipolytica as a platform organism for sustainable food oil production. By genetic engineering, we abolished filamentation, an unfavorable behavior in industrial applications. We then altered the fatty acid profile of Y. lipolytica by tinkering with proteins called desaturases to mimic a high-value food oil – cocoa butter. To increase the sustainability of the production, we further explored lignocellulosic hydrolysates (e.g. from wood) as an alternative to feed our yeast. By overexpressing native genes, Y. lipolytica utilized xylose as a carbon source. Additionally, we documented the tolerance of our yeast to inhibitors commonly found in hydrolysates. Finally, we compared urea to ammonium sulphate as an alternative nitrogen source using transcriptomic analysis.

​Zoom link
    Password: 516312

Category Thesis defence
Location: KB, lecture hall, Kemigården 4, Kemi & via Zoom
Starts: 25 August, 2022, 14:00
Ends: 25 August, 2022, 17:00

Page manager Published: Mon 20 Jun 2022.