Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) of the -3 and -6 class (e.g. -linolenic acid, linoleic acid) are essential for maintaining biofunctions in mammalians like humans. Due to the fact that humans cannot synthesize these essential fatty acids, they must be taken up from different food sources. Classical sources for these fatty acids are porcine liver and fish oil. However, microbial lipids or single cell oils, produced by oleaginous microorganisms such as algae, fungi and bacteria, are a promising source as well. These single cell oils can be used for many valuable chemicals with applications not only for nutrition but also for fuels and are therefore an ideal basis for a bio-based economy. A crucial point for the establishment of microbial lipids utilization is the cost-effective production and purification of fuels or products of higher value. The fermentative production can be realized by submerged (SmF) or solid state fermentation (SSF). The yield and the composition of the obtained microbial lipids depend on the type of fermentation and the particular conditions (e.g. medium, pH-value, temperature, aeration, nitrogen source). ... mehrFrom an economical point of view, waste or by-product streams can be used as cheap and renewable carbon and nitrogen sources. In general, downstream processing costs are one of the major obstacles to be solved for full economic efficiency of microbial lipids. For the extraction of lipids from microbial biomass cell disruption is most important, because efficiency of cell disruption directly influences subsequent downstream operations and overall extraction efficiencies. A multitude of cell disruption and lipid extraction methods are available, conventional as well as newly emerging methods, which will be described and discussed in terms of large scale applicability, their potential in a modern biorefinery and their influence on product quality. Furthermore, an overview is given about applications of microbial lipids or derived fatty acids with emphasis on food applications.