, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 172-177

Poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate in Syntrophomonas wolfei

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Abstract

The production of poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) in Syntrophomonas wolfei grown in pure culture or in coculture with Methanospirillum hungatei was studied. PHA was produced by S. wolfei during the exponential phase of growth under both of these cultural conditions. S. wolfei in pure culture also produced PHA in stationary phase when the medium was supplemented with high concentrations of the substrate crotonate. In S. wolfei, PHA levels decreased after growth stopped and most of the substrate was depleted. Altering the C to N ratio of the medium did not affect the amount of PHA made per mg of protein. The incorporation of labeled butyrate but not acetate into PHA during the early stages of growth of S. wolfei and the fact that some of the PHA in a pure culture of S. wolfei grown with trans-2-pentenoate was a polymer of 5-carbon monomer units indicated that a pathway exists for the synthesis of PHA without degradation of the substrate to acetyl-CoA. During the later stages of growth, PHA was made by a pathway which was in equilibrium with the acetate pool. These data indicate that PHA served as a carbon/energy reserve material in S. wolfei, but the synthesis of this polymer was regulated in a manner different from the known pathways.