Determining mating type and ploidy in Rhodotorula toruloides and its effect on growth on sugars from lignocellulosic biomass

Daiane Dias Lopes, Bruce S Dien, Ronald E Hector, Vijay Singh, Stephanie R Thompson, Patricia J Slininger, Kyria Boundy-Mills, Sujit S Jagtap, Christopher V Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rhodotorula toruloides is being developed for the use in industrial biotechnology processes because of its favorable physiology. This includes its ability to produce and store large amounts of lipids in the form of intracellular lipid bodies. Nineteen strains were characterized for mating type, ploidy, robustness for growth, and accumulation of lipids on inhibitory switchgrass hydrolysate (SGH). Mating type was determined using a novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay, which was validated using the classical microscopic test. Three of the strains were heterozygous for mating type (A1/A2). Ploidy analysis revealed a complex pattern. Two strains were triploid, eight haploid, and eight either diploid or aneuploid. Two of the A1/A2 strains were compared to their parents for growth on 75%v/v concentrated SGH. The A1/A2 strains were much more robust than the parental strains, which either did not grow or had extended lag times. The entire set was evaluated in 60%v/v SGH batch cultures for growth kinetics and biomass and lipid production. Lipid titers were 2.33–9.40 g/L with a median of 6.12 g/L, excluding the two strains that did not grow. Lipid yields were 0.032–0.131 (g/g) and lipid contents were 13.5–53.7% (g/g). Four strains had significantly higher lipid yields and contents. One of these strains, which had among the highest lipid yield in this study (0.131 ± 0.007 g/g), has not been previously described in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberkuad040
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 21 2023
StatePublished - 2023


  • biofuels
  • lignocellulose
  • oleaginous yeast
  • PCR assay
  • single cell oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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