Project Details

Biofortification of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in peanut by metabolic engineering of fatty acid biosynthetic pathway

Duration: 21/Nov/2014 - 20/Nov/2017

Project contact: Dr Kiran K Sharma (K.SHARMA@CGIAR.ORG)

Donor: Government department -national- state or local,Department of Biotechnology- Government of India-India

CGIAR Research Program: Grain Legumes

Very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFAs) such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA 22:6 omega 3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA 20:5 omega 3) are important for human health. Currently, their main dietary sources are fish and fish oil. However, neither farmed nor caught fish are a sustainable source of the VLC-PUFA, because of the continuous decrease in marine resources due to overfishing and the environmental impact of fish farming. Humans can synthesize both DHA and EPA from the precursor alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 18:3) (ALA), but lack the delta-15-desaturase and delta-12-desaturase required for forming ALA and Linoleic acid (omega-6 18:2) (LA), respectively. ALA and LA, also called essential fatty acids, must be supplied in the diet, thereby necessitating their provision as a sustainable alternative source of the omega-3 long-chain PUFA. Recent attempts to produce VLC-PUFAs, DHA and EPA in oilseeds by heterologous expression of more than one desaturase and elongase genes have not been successful due to very low expression of these genes. This project will attempt to modify the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio in peanut by increasing the production of linolenic acid (18:3 omega-3) by overexpression of Ä15-desaturase with concomitant production of stearidonic acid (18:4) by inducing the heterologous expression of Ä6-desaturase. This will be an attempt towards generating a sustainable source for omega-3 PUFAs in peanut.

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