Labyrinthulomycete protists have gained significant attention in the recent past for their biotechnological importance. Yet, their lipid profiles are poorly described because only a few large-scale isolation attempts have been made so far. Here, we isolated more than 200 strains from mangrove habitats of China and characterized the molecular phylogeny and lipid accumulation potential of 71 strains. These strains were the closest relatives of six genera namely Aurantiochytrium
, and Labyrinthula
. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) production of the top 15 strains ranged from 0.23 g/L to 1.14 g/L. Two labyrinthulid strains, GXBH-107 and GXBH-215, exhibited unprecedented high DHA production potential with content >10% of biomass. Among all strains, ZJWZ-7, identified as an Aurantiochytrium
strain, exhibited the highest DHA production. Further optimization of culture conditions for strain ZJWZ-7 showed improved lipid production (1.66 g/L DHA and 1.68 g/L saturated fatty acids (SFAs)) with glycerol-malic-acid, peptone-yeast-extract, initial pH 7, 28 °C, and rotation rate 150 rpm. Besides, nitrogen source, initial pH, temperature, and rotation rate had significant effects on the cell biomass, DHA, and SFAs production. This study provides the identification and characterization of nearly six dozen thraustochytrids and labyrinthulids with high potential for lipid accumulation.
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