The time courses for production of fungal biomass, lipid, phenolic and arachidonic acid (ARA) as well as expression of the genes involved in biosynthesis of ARA and lipid were examined in Mortierella alpina CBS 754.68. A significant increase in the arachidonic acid content in lipids that coincided with reduced levels of lipid was obtained. Reduced gene expression occurred presumably due to the steady reduction of carbon and nitrogen resources. However, these energy resources were inefficiently compensated by the breakdown of the accumulated lipids that in turn, induced up-regulated expression of the candidate genes. The results further indicated that the expression of the GLELO encoding gene is a rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of ARA in the early growth phase.