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Environmental and industrial applications of Yarrowia lipolytica


Yarrowia lipolytica is a fungus that degrades hydrophobic substrates very efficiently. The fungus displays several important characteristics that have encouraged researchers to study various basic biological and biotechnological applications in detail. Although the organism has been used as model system for studying dimorphism, salt tolerance, heterologous protein expression, and lipid accumulation, there are no recent reviews on the environmental and industrial applications of this organism. Included here are applications in bioremediation of environments contaminated with aliphatic and aromatic compounds, organic pollutants, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, and metals. A variety of industrially important recent processes for the synthesis of β-hydroxy butyrate, l-dopa, and emulsifiers have also been reviewed. Production of unique inherent enzymes (inulinases, α-mannosidases), novel applications of esterases and lipases, and the use of the fungus for heterologous expression of biotechnologically relevant products have also been highlighted. The review while entailing a general overview focuses critically on some of the recent advances on the applications of this yeast. The examples cited here demonstrate the use of wild-type, mutant as well as genetically manipulated strains of Y. lipolytica for the development of different products, processes, and technologies. This also throws light on how a single organism can be versatile with respect to its metabolic abilities and how it can be exploited for a variety of purposes. This review will thus form a base for future developments in this field.

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AB wishes to thank CSIR, New Delhi, India for Senior Research Fellowship and all authors thank UGC, India, for financial support to Institute of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology.

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Correspondence to Smita S. Zinjarde.

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Bankar, A.V., Kumar, A.R. & Zinjarde, S.S. Environmental and industrial applications of Yarrowia lipolytica . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 84, 847–865 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-009-2156-8

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  • Yarrowia lipolytica
  • Hydrocarbons bioremediation
  • Wastewaters
  • Emulsifier
  • Industrial enzymes
  • Enantiomer resolution