Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 15, pp 6437–6449 | Cite as

Carbon flux to growth or polyhydroxyalkanoate synthesis under microaerophilic conditions is affected by fatty acid chain-length in Pseudomonas putida LS46

  • Warren Blunt
  • Christopher DartiailhEmail author
  • Richard Sparling
  • Daniel Gapes
  • David B. Levin
  • Nazim Cicek
Biotechnological products and process engineering


Economical production of medium-chain length polyhydroxyalkanoates (mcl-PHA) is dependent on efficient cultivation processes. This work describes growth and mcl-PHA synthesis characteristics of Pseudomonas putida LS46 when grown on medium-chain length fatty acids (octanoic acid) and lower-cost long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs, derived from hydrolyzed canola oil) in microaerophilic environments. Growth on octanoic acid ceased when the oxygen uptake rate was limited by the oxygen transfer rate, and mcl-PHA accumulated to 61.9% of the cell dry mass. From LCFAs, production of non-PHA cell mass continued at a rate of 0.36 g L−1 h−1 under oxygen-limited conditions, while mcl-PHA accumulated simultaneously to 31% of the cell dry mass. The titer of non-PHA cell mass from LCFAs at 14 h post-inoculation was double that obtained from octanoic acid in bioreactors operated with identical feeding and aeration conditions. While the productivity for octanoic acid was higher by 14 h, prolonged cultivation on LCFAs achieved similar productivity but with twice the PHA titer. Simultaneous co-feeding of each substrate demonstrated the continued cell growth under microaerophilic conditions characteristic of LCFAs, and the resulting polymer was dominant in C8 monomers. Furthermore, co-feeding resulted in improved PHA titer and volumetric productivity compared to either substrate individually. These results suggest that LCFAs improve growth of P. putida in oxygen-limited environments and could reduce production costs since more non-PHA cell mass, the cellular factories required to produce mcl-PHA and the most oxygen-intensive cellular process, can be produced for a given oxygen transfer rate.


PHA Dissolved oxygen Bioreactor Biopolymer Fed-batch LCFAs 



This study was funded by the Genome Canada, through the Genome Applications and Partnership Program (GAPP), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada through a Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grant with Minto BioProducts Ltd. as the industrial partner (grant number CRDPJ-490630-15).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren Blunt
    • 1
  • Christopher Dartiailh
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Richard Sparling
    • 3
  • Daniel Gapes
    • 4
  • David B. Levin
    • 1
  • Nazim Cicek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biosystems EngineeringUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.E2-376 Engineering and Information Technology Complex (EITC), 75A Chancellor’s CircleUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  4. 4.Scion ResearchTe Papa Tipu Innovation ParkRotoruaNew Zealand

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