5,8,11,14,17-Eicosapentaenoic acid

September 30, 2013
Image of 5,8,11,14,17-Eicosapentaenoic acid 3D Image of 5,8,11,14,17-Eicosapentaenoic acid

5,8,11,14,17-Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is a straight-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid whose double bonds all have the cis configuration. E. Klenk and D. Eberhagen isolated EPA from cod-liver oil in 1957. It is a biochemical precursor to the prostaglandin-3, thromboxane-3, and leukotriene-5 lipid families.

The supply of marine fish as the main source of EPA and other so-called omega-3 fatty acids is limited and unsustainable. Recently, Q. Zhu and co-workers at DuPont engineered Yarrowia lipolytica, an oleaginous yeast that accumulates lipids, to produce large amounts of EPA. These researchers believe that other Y. lipolytica strains may be able to produce other fatty acids and lipids for uses such as biodiesel fuel.



MOTW update: 
July 02, 2018

An eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) isomer was the Molecule of the Week for September 30, 2013. It’s a fish oil–derived omega-3 fatty acid, which at that time was being synthesized by engineered bacteria. But there is now a method for producing it from another natural source: krill oil. During purification, EPA is converted to its ethyl ester and then restored to its free acid form.

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