Background: Cutaneotrichosporon oleaginosus ATCC 20509 is a fast growing oleaginous basidiomycete yeast that is able to grow in a wide range of low-cost carbon sources including crude glycerol, a byproduct of biodiesel production. When glycerol is used as a carbon source, this yeast can accumulate more than 50% lipids (w/w) with high concentrations of mono-unsaturated fatty acids.
Results: To increase our understanding of this yeast and to provide a knowledge base for further industrial use, a FAIR re-annotated genome was used to build a genome-scale, constraint-based metabolic model containing 1553 reactions involving 1373 metabolites in 11 compartments. A new description of the biomass synthesis reaction was introduced to account for massive lipid accumulation in conditions with high carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio in the media. This condition-specific biomass objective function is shown to better predict conditions with high lipid accumulation using glucose, fructose, sucrose, xylose, and glycerol as sole carbon source.
Conclusion: Contributing to the economic viability of biodiesel as renewable fuel, C. oleaginosus ATCC 20509 can effectively convert crude glycerol waste streams in lipids as a potential bioenergy source. Performance simulations are essential to identify optimal production conditions and to develop and fine tune a cost-effective production process. Our model suggests ATP-citrate lyase as a possible target to further improve lipid production.