Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 693–698 | Cite as

Methanol-dependent production of dihydroxyacetone and glycerol by mutants of the methylotrophic yeast Hansenula polymorpha blocked in dihydroxyacetone kinase and glycerol kinase

  • W. de Koning
  • R. A. Weusthuis
  • W. Harder
  • L. Dijkhuizen
Applied Microbiology


Various factors controlling dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and glycerol production from methanol by resting cell suspensions of a mutant of Hansenula polymorpha, blocked in DHA kinase and glycerol kinase, were investigated. The presence of methanol (250mM) and an additional substrate (0.5%, w/v) to replenish the xylulose-5-phosphate required for the assimilation reaction (DHA synthase) was essential for significant triose production by this double mutant. A number of sugars were tested as additional substrates and C5 sugars gave the highest triose accumulation (ca. 20mM after 45h). Glucose was the poorest additional substrate and triose production only started after its exhaustion, which occurred in the first few hours. Other sugars were metabolized at a much lower rate and accumulation of trioses began right at the start of the experiments and gradually increased with time. The production rate of total trioses increased, and the relative amount of glycerol diminished with higher oxygen supply rates. The data suggest that conversion of DHA into glycerol, catalysed by reduced nicotine adenine dinucleotide (NADH)-dependent DHA reductase, is partly regulated via intracellular NADH levels. Further support for this hypothesis was obtained in experiments with antimycin A, an inhibitor of the electron transport chain. Addition of higher amounts of methanol and xylose, either by increasing the initial concentrations or by repeated addition of these substrates, resulted in considerably enhanced productivity and a switch towards glycerol formation. After reaching a level of approximately 25mM the DHA concentration remained constant while the glycerol level gradually increased with time. After an incubation period of 350 h, a total of 3.9 M methanol and 0.62 M xylose had been converted, which resulted in accumulation of 0.76 M trioses, mostly glycerol.


Nicotine Xylose Dihydroxyacetone Additional Substrate Triose 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. de Koning
    • 1
  • R. A. Weusthuis
    • 1
  • W. Harder
    • 1
  • L. Dijkhuizen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of GroningenHarenThe Netherlands

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