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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Edible Oils, Microbial Modification Processes)

item Hosokawa, Masashi
item Hou, Ching

Submitted to: Wiley Encyclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2010
Publication Date: 3/26/2010
Citation: Hosokawa, M., Hou, C.T. 2010. Edible oils, microbial modification processes. In: Flickinger, M.C., editor. Wiley Encyclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. 3:1959-1968.

Interpretive Summary: The US has a large amount of surplus soybean oil annually, and using vegetable oils or their component fatty acids as starting material provides a new opportunity for bioindustry. In this paper, we discussed the use of new biotechnology to produce value added products such as new oxygenated fatty acids from vegetable oils based on our own studies. Oxygenated fatty acids can be used not only as specialty chemicals, but also as bioactive compounds such as antifungal agents. Keto and hydroxy fatty acids are useful industrial chemicals, used in plasticizer, surfactant, lubricant, and detergent formulations because of their special chemical properties, such as higher viscosity and reactivity compared with other fatty acids. We discovered more than 15 new bioactive or potentially bioactive oxygenated fatty acids. Many of these new products showed antimicrobial activities. Fat and oil represent an area with tremendous opportunity for new biotechnology to explore. Success of our studies in developing a new one-step bioprocess to produce these new products will benefit farmers, polymer industries, specialty chemical companies, biomedical companies, and the U.S. agricultural community.

Technical Abstract: US produces huge amount of vegetable oils headed with soybean oil (20 billion pounds of soybean oil with 1 billion pound carry over annually). Finding new uses for the huge surplus of vegetable oil is important to US agriculture community. However, studies on oil biotechnology and bioprocesses are relatively rare. Microorganisms oxidize fatty acids either at the terminal carbon or inside of the acyl chain. Oxygenated (hydroxy-, epoxy-) fatty acids such as ricinoleic, vernolic, and/or sebacic acids are high value chemicals and can be used to produce polymers and specialty chemicals. Oxygenated fatty acids also have many bioactive properties, such as antimicrobial activity against Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and plant pathogenic fungi. The specific physiological activity of bioactive fatty acids depends on the position of the hydroxyl groups on the fatty acyl chain. This chapter reviews the production of hydroxyl and keto fatty acids, and novel oxygenated fatty acids from essential fatty acids such as oleic acid, linoleic acid, and other omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from edible plant and fish oils by microbial bioconversion system. We also review monooxygenase system of B. megaterium ALA2 gene, a self-sufficient P450BM-3.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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