Factors impacting the microbial production of eicosapentaenoic acid

Sérgio Sousa, Ana P. Carvalho*, Ana M. Gomes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review



The increasing applications for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and the potential shortfall in supply due to sustainability and contamination issues related with its conventional sources (i.e., fish oils; seafood) led to an extensive search for alternative and sustainable sources, as well as production processes. The present mini-review covers all the steps involved in the production of EPA from microorganisms, with a deeper focus on microalgae. From production systems to downstream processing, the most important achievements within each area are briefly highlighted. Comparative tables of methodologies are also provided, as well as additional references of recent reviews, so that readers may deepen their knowledge in the different issues addressed. Key points: • Microorganisms are more sustainable alternative sources of EPA than fish. • Due to the costly separation from DHA, species that produce only EPA are preferable. • EPA production can be optimised using non-genetic and genetic tailoring engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number368
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Downstream processing
  • Fermentation engineering
  • Market products
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Microalgae


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