Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 383–388 | Cite as

Adaptation of Rhodococcus erythropolis DCL14 to growth on n-alkanes, alcohols and terpenes

  • Carla C. C. R. de Carvalho
  • Beatriz Parreño-Marchante
  • Grit Neumann
  • M. Manuela R. da Fonseca
  • Hermann J. Heipieper
Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology


Rhodococcus erythropolis DCL14 has the ability to convert the terpene (−)-carveol to the valuable flavour compound (−)-carvone when growing on a wide range of carbon sources. To study the effect of carbon and energy sources such as alkanes, alkanols and terpenes on the biotechnological process, the cellular adaptation at the level of fatty acid composition of the membrane phospholipids and the (−)-carvone production were examined. All tested carbon sources caused a dose-dependent increase in the degree of saturation of the fatty acids. The exception was observed with short-chain alcohols such as methanol and ethanol, to which the cells adapted with a concentration-dependent decrease in the saturation degree of the membrane phospholipids. This influence of the different carbon sources on the rigidity of the cell membrane also had an impact on the (−)-carvone productivity of the strain.


Terpene Limonene Carvone Membrane Fatty Acid Mycolic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by a post-doctoral grant (SFRH/BPD/14426/2003) awarded to C.C.C.R.C. by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal.


  1. Alvarez HM (2003) Relationship between β-oxidation and the hydrocarbon-degrading profile and actinomycete bacteria. Int Biodeterior Biodegrad 52:35–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bligh EG, Dyer WJ (1959) A rapid method of total lipid extraction and purification. Can J Biochem Physiol 37:911–917Google Scholar
  3. Carvalho CCCR de, Fonseca MMR da (2002a) Maintenance of cell viability in the biotransformation of (–)-carveol with whole cells of Rhodococcus erythropolis. J Mol Catal B Enzym 19/20:389–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carvalho CCCR de, Fonseca MMR da (2002b) Influence of reactor configuration on the production of carvone from carveol by whole cells of Rhodococcus erythropolis DCL14. J Mol Catal B Enzym 19/20:377–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carvalho CCCR de, Fonseca MMR da (2004) Principal component analysis applied to bacterial cell behaviour in the presence of organic solvents. Biocatal Biotransform 23:1–12Google Scholar
  6. Carvalho CCCR de, Fonseca MMR da (in press) Degradation of hydrocarbon and alcohols at different temperatures and salinities by Rhodococcus erythropolis DCL14. FEMS Microbiol EcolGoogle Scholar
  7. Carvalho CCCR de, Keulen F van, Fonseca MMR da (2000) Production and recovery of limonene-1,2-diol and simultaneous resolution of a diastereomeric mixture of limonene-1,2-epoxide with whole cells of Rhodococcus erythropolis DCL14. Biocatal Biotransform 18:223–235Google Scholar
  8. Carvalho CCCR de, Keulen F van, Fonseca MMR da (2002) Modelling the bio-kinetic resolution of diastereomers present in unequal initial amounts. Tetrahedron Asymmetry 13:1637–1643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen Q, Janssen DB, Witholt B (1995a) Growth on octane alters the membrane lipid fatty acids of Pseudomonas oleovorans due to the induction of alkB and synthesis of octanol. J Bacteriol 177:6894–6901PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen Q, Nijenhuis A, Preusting H, Dolfing J, Janssen DB, Witholt B (1995b) Effects of octane on the fatty acid composition and transition temperature of Pseudomonas oleovorans membrane lipids during growth in two liquid phase continuous cultures. Enzyme Microb Technol 17:647–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen Q, Janssen DB, Witholt B (1996) Physiological changes and alk gene instability in Pseudomonas oleovorans during induction and expression of alk genes. J Bacteriol 178:5508–5512PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Gutierrez JA, Nichols P, Couperwhite I (1999) Changes in whole cell-derived fatty acids induced by benzene and occurrence of the unusual 16:1 omega 6c in Rhodococcus sp 33. FEMS Microbiol Lett 176:213–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hartig C, Loffhagen N, Babel W (1999) Glucose stimulates a decrease of the fatty acid saturation degree in Acinetobacter calcoaceticus. Arch Microbiol 171:166–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heipieper HJ, Bont JAM de (1994) Adaptation of Pseudomonas putida S1 to ethanol and toluene at the level of fatty acid composition of membranes. Appl Environ Microbiol 60:4440–4444PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Heipieper HJ, Diefenbach R, Keweloh H (1992) A possible mechanism of the protection of the phenol degrading strain Pseudomonas putida P8 from the toxicity of the substrate: the conversion of cis- into trans- unsaturated fatty acids. Appl Environ Microbiol 58:1847–1852PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Heipieper HJ, Weber FJ, Sikkema J, Keweloh H, Bont JAM de (1994) Mechanisms behind resistance of whole cells to toxic organic solvents. Trends Biotechnol 12:409–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ingram LO (1976) Adaptation of membrane lipids to alcohols. J Bacteriol 125:670–678PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Isken S, Bont JAM de (1998) Bacteria tolerant to organic solvents. Extremophiles 2:229–238CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Isken S, Heipieper HJ (2002) Toxicity of organic solvents to microoganisms. In: Bitton G (ed) Encyclopedia of environmental microbiology, vol 6. Wiley, New York, pp 3147–3155Google Scholar
  20. Kabelitz N, Santos PM, Heipieper HJ (2003) Effect of aliphatic alcohols on growth and degree of saturation of membrane lipids in Acinetobacter calcoaceticus. FEMS Microbiol Lett 220:223–227CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Keweloh H, Heipieper HJ (1996) Trans-unsaturated fatty acids in bacteria. Lipids 31:129–137PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Morrison WR, Smith LM (1964) Preparation of fatty acid methyl esters and dimethylacetals from lipids with boron fluoride–methanol. J Lipid Res 5:107–118Google Scholar
  23. Rosenberg M, Gutnick D, Rosenberg E (1980) Adherence of bacteria to hydrocarbons: a simple method for measuring cell-surface hydrophobicity. FEMS Microbiol Lett 9:29–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Seddom JM (1990) Structure of the inverted hexagonal (HII) phase, and non-lamellar phase transitions of lipids. Biochim Biophys Acta 1031:1–69PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Sikkema J, Bont JAM de, Poolman B (1995) Mechanisms of membrane toxicity of hydrocarbons. Microbiol Rev 59:201–222PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Sinensky M (1974) Homeoviscous adaptation—a homeostatic process that regulates the viscosity of membrane lipids in Escherichia coli. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 71:522–525PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Sokolovská I, Rozenberg R, Riez C, Rouxhet PG, Agathos SN, Wattiau P (2003) Carbon source-induced modifications in the mycolic acid content and cell wall permeability of Rhodococcus erythropolis E1. Appl Environ Microbiol 69:7019–7027CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Tsitko IV, Zaitsev GM, Lobanok AG, Salkinoja-Salonen MS (1999) Effect of aromatic compounds on cellular fatty acid composition of Rhodococcus opacus. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:853–855PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Weber FJ, Bont JAM de (1996) Adaptation mechanisms of microorganisms to the toxic effects of organic solvent on membranes. Biochim Biophys Acta 1286:225–245CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Wiegant WM, Bont JAM de (1980) A new route for ethylene glycol metabolism in Mycobacterium E44. J Gen Microbiol 120:325–331Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla C. C. R. de Carvalho
    • 1
  • Beatriz Parreño-Marchante
    • 1
    • 2
  • Grit Neumann
    • 3
  • M. Manuela R. da Fonseca
    • 1
  • Hermann J. Heipieper
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Biological and Chemical EngineeringInstituto Superior TécnicoLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Erasmus student, Facultad de QuímicaUniversidad de MurciaMurciaSpain
  3. 3.Department of BioremediationUFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-HalleLeipzigGermany

Personalised recommendations