Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 12, pp 4741–4752 | Cite as

A pH shift induces high-titer liamocin production in Aureobasidium pullulans

  • Katharina Maria Saur
  • Oliver Brumhard
  • Karen Scholz
  • Heiko Hayen
  • Till TisoEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


Liamocins are biosurfactants produced by the fungus Aureobasidium pullulans. A. pullulans belongs to the black yeasts and is known for its ability to produce pullulan and melanin. However, the production of liamocins has not been investigated intensively. Initially, HPLC methods for the quantification of liamocin and the identification of liamocin congeners were established. Eleven congeners could be detected, differing in the polyol head groups arabitol or mannitol. In addition, headless molecules, so-called exophilins, were also identified. The HPLC method reported here allows quick and reliable quantification of all identified congeners, an often-overlooked prerequisite for the investigation of valuable product formation. Liamocin synthesis was optimized during cultivation in lab-scale fermenters. While the pH can be kept constant, the best strategy for liamocin synthesis consists of a growth phase at neutral pH and a subsequent production phase induced by a manual pH shift to pH 3.5. Finally, combining increased nitrogen availability with a pulsed fed-batch fermentation, cell growth, and liamocin titers could be enhanced. Here, the maximal titers of above 10 g/L that were reached are the highest reported to date for liamocin synthesis using A. pullulans in lab-scale fermenters.


Biosurfactants Liamocin Aureobasidium pullulans Heavy oil Fermentation pH shift 



The authors thank Lars M. Blank for granting lab space and resources for the biological experiments as well as Katja Schröder for experimental support.


This work was partially funded by the Cluster of Excellence “Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass” (TMFB), which is funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments to promote science and research at German universities. The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research financially supported parts of this study, within the framework of the NRW Strategieprojekt Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC) (No. 313/323–400-002 13). We also acknowledge funding by the Cluster of Excellence “The Fuel Science Center—Adaptive Conversion Systems for Renewable Energy and Carbon Sources,” which is funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments to promote science and research at German universities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that 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 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.iAMB—Institute of Applied Microbiology, ABBt—Aachen Biology and BiotechnologyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Inorganic and Analytical ChemistryUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany

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