Microorganisms capable of accumulating lipids in high percentages, known as oleaginous microorganisms, have been widely studied as an alternative for producing oleochemicals and biofuels. Microbial lipid, so-called Single Cell Oil (SCO), production depends on several growth parameters, including the nature of the carbon substrate, which must be efficiently taken up and converted into storage lipid. On the other hand, substrates considered for large scale applications must be abundant and of low acquisition cost. Among others, lignocellulosic biomass is a promising renewable substrate containing high percentages of assimilable sugars (hexoses and pentoses). However, it is also highly recalcitrant, and therefore it requires specific pretreatments in order to release its assimilable components. The main drawback of lignocellulose pretreatment is the generation of several by-products that can inhibit the microbial metabolism. In this review, we discuss the main aspects related to the cultivation of oleaginous microorganisms using lignocellulosic biomass as substrate, hoping to contribute to the development of a sustainable process for SCO production in the near future.
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