The acetylation degree of alginates in Azotobacter vinelandii ATCC9046 is determined by dissolved oxygen and specific growth rate: studies in glucose-limited chemostat cultivations

  • Tania Castillo
  • Enrique Galindo
  • Carlos F. Peña
Fermentation, Cell Culture and Bioengineering


Alginates are polysaccharides that may be used as viscosifiers and gel or film-forming agents with a great diversity of applications. The alginates produced by bacteria such as Azotobacter vinelandii are acetylated. The presence of acetyl groups in this type of alginate increases its solubility, viscosity, and swelling capability. The aim of this study was to evaluate, in glucose-limited chemostat cultivations of A. vinelandii ATCC9046, the influence of dissolved oxygen tension (DO) and specific growth rate (μ) on the degree of acetylation of alginates produced by this bacterium. In glucose-limited chemostat cultivations, the degree of alginate acetylation was evaluated under two conditions of DO (1 and 9 %) and for a range of specific growth rates (0.02–0.15 h−1). In addition, the alginate yields and PHB production were evaluated. High DO in the culture resulted in a high degree of alginate acetylation, reaching a maximum acetylation degree of 6.88 % at 9 % DO. In contrast, the increment of μ had a negative effect on the production and acetylation of the polymer. It was found that at high DO (9 %) and low μ, there was a reduction of the respiration rate, and the PHB accumulation was negligible, suggesting that the flux of acetyl-CoA (the acetyl donor) was diverted to alginate acetylation.


Azotobacter vinelandii Alginate acetylation Specific growth rate Dissolved oxygen tension Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) 



Financial support of DGAPA-UNAM (grant IN110310-3). PhD grant of Tania Castillo from CONACYT. The authors acknowledge the helpful discussions with Dr. Cinthia Núñez and Dr. Álvaro Lara.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tania Castillo
    • 1
  • Enrique Galindo
    • 1
  • Carlos F. Peña
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ingeniería Celular y Biocatálisis, Instituto de BiotecnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMorelosMexico

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