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Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates from methanol by a new methylotrophic bacterium Methylobacterium sp. GW2


A new bacterial strain, isolated from groundwater contaminated with explosives, was characterized as a pink-pigmented facultative methylotroph, affiliated to the genus Methylobacterium. The bacterial isolate designated as strain GW2 was found capable of producing the homopolymer poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) from various carbon sources such as methanol, ethanol, and succinate. Methanol acted as the best substrate for the production of PHB reaching 40 % w/w dry biomass. PHB accumulation was observed to be a growth-associated process, so that there was no need for two-step fermentation. Optimal growth occurred at 0.5 % (v/v) methanol concentration, and growth was strongly inhibited at \( a \) concentration above 2 % (v/v). Methylobacterium sp. strain GW2 was also able to accumulate the copolyester poly-3-hydroxybutyrate-poly-3-hydroxyvalerate (PHB/HV) when valeric acid was supplied as an auxiliary carbon source to methanol. After 66 h, a copolymer content of 30 % (w/w) was achieved with a PHB to PHV ratio of 1:2. Biopolymers produced by strain GW2 had an average molecular weight ranging from 229,350 to 233,050 Da for homopolymer PHB and from 362,430 to 411,300 Da for the copolymer PHB/HV.

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The authors are thankful to Ms Chantale Beaulieu, Mrs Stéphane Deschamps and Alain Corriveau for their technical assistance. We are also grateful to Mr. Rodger Allison from the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Middletown (USA) for providing groundwater samples. We thank Ms Sandra Sperker and Ms Cynthia Leggiadro, from the National Research Council, Institute for Marine Biosciences of Halifax (Canada) for transmission electron microscope analyses, and Dr. Robert E. Prud’homme and Ms Julie Boivin from the Chemistry Department of Montreal University, for carrying out molecular weight analysis of biopolymers.

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Correspondence to J. Hawari.

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Yezza, A., Fournier, D., Halasz, A. et al. Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates from methanol by a new methylotrophic bacterium Methylobacterium sp. GW2. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 73, 211–218 (2006).

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  • PHAs
  • Viable Cell Count
  • Valeric Acid
  • Baffle Shake Flask
  • Hydroxyvaleric Acid