Comprehensive metabolomics reveals correlation between sophorolipid biosynthesis and autophagy

Sven Dierickx, Maximilien Souvereyns, Sophie L. K. W. Roelants, Marilyn De Graeve, Lieven Van Meulebroek, Sofie L. De Maeseneire, Wim K. G. Soetaert, Lynn Vanhaecke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Downloads (Pure)


Sophorolipids are biobased and biodegradable glycolipid surface-active agents contributing to the shift from petroleum to biobased surfactants, associated with clear environmental benefits. However, their production cost is currently too high to allow commercialisation. Therefore, a continuous sophorolipid production process was evaluated, i.e., a retentostat with an external filtration unit. Despite an initial increase in volumetric productivity, productivity eventually declined to almost 0gL-1 h-1. Following comprehensive metabolomics on supernatant obtained from a standardised retentostat, we hypothesised exhaustion of the N-starvation-induced autophagy as the main mechanism responsible for the decline in bolaform sophorolipid productivity. Thirty-six metabolites that correlate with RNA/protein autophagy and high sophorolipid productivity were putatively identified. In conclusion, our results unveil a plausible cause of this bola sophorolipid productivity decline in an industrially relevant bioreactor set-up, which may thus impact majorly on future yeast biosurfactant regulation studies and the finetuning of bola sophorolipid production processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalBMC Biotechnology
Early online date27 Feb 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 27 Feb 2023


  • Autophagy
  • Metabolomics
  • Retentostat
  • Sophorolipids
  • Starmerella bombicola


Dive into the research topics of 'Comprehensive metabolomics reveals correlation between sophorolipid biosynthesis and autophagy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this