Safety assessment of EPA-rich oil produced from yeast: Results of a 90-day subchronic toxicity study

Susan A. MacKenzie, Leigh A. Belcher, Greg P. Sykes, Steven R. Frame, Pushkor Mukerji, Peter J. Gillies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The safety of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) oil produced from genetically modified Yarrowia lipolytica yeast was evaluated following 90. days of exposure. Groups of rats received 0 (olive oil), 98, 488, or 976. mg EPA/kg/day, or GRAS fish oil or deionized water by oral gavage. Rats were evaluated for in-life, neurobehavioral, anatomic and clinical pathology parameters. Lower serum cholesterol (total and non-HDL) was observed in Medium and High EPA and fish oil groups. Lower HDL was observed in High EPA and fish oil males, only at early time points. Liver weights were increased in High EPA and Medium EPA (female only) groups with no associated clinical or microscopic pathology findings. Nasal lesions, attributed to oil in the nasal cavity, were observed in High and Medium EPA and fish oil groups. No other effects were attributed to test oil exposure. Exposure to EPA oil for 90. days produced no effects at 98. mg EPA/kg/day and no adverse effects at doses up to 976. mg EPA/kg/day. The safety profile of EPA oil was comparable to that of GRAS fish oil. These results support the use of EPA oil produced from yeast as a safe source for use in dietary supplements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-500
Number of pages11
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


  • Dietary supplement
  • EPA oil
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid
  • Safety assessment
  • Toxicity


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