Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 406-414

First online:

Production of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL): isolation and evaluation of yeast strains suitable for commercial production of l-phenylalanine

  • Christopher T. EvansAffiliated withAllelix Inc.
  • , Kim HannaAffiliated withAllelix Inc.
  • , Dayle ConradAffiliated withAllelix Inc.
  • , Wendy PetersonAffiliated withAllelix Inc.
  • , Masanaru MisawaAffiliated withAllelix Inc.

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Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase (PAL) containing microorganisms were isolated from a wide variety of natural habitats. The best 21 strains to emerge from the primary screen were screened for PAL activities in both directions using l-phenylalanine and t-cinnamate substrates. Twelve of the latter strains were compared for total cell production and PAL activity and 7 isolates were chosen for examination of the extent of PAL induction in various media. On the basis of these screens, isolate SPA 10 (identified as Rhodotorula rubra) was selected for further optimization. Growth was optimal at 28° C and pH 5.0, although cellular PAL activity was shown to be higher at sub-optimal temperatures (36° C) and pH (8.0) for growth. Synthesis of PAL was repressed when grown in the presence of various sugars and NH 4 + ions. Manipulation of fermentation conditions enabled PAL synthesis to occur at maximum biomass levels, upon glucose exhaustion. PAL was rapidly inactivated within cells shortly after maximum synthesis was attained: feeding of d,l-isoleucine and low concentrations of d,l-phenylalanine, and shifting of fermentation temperature conferred catalyst stability for fermentations over 100 h. These results demonstrate the suitability and superiority of isolate SPA 10 for the commercial production of l-phenylalanine from trans-cinnamic acid.