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High-cell-density production of poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) from methanol by Methylobacterium extorquens: production of high-molecular-mass PHB

Abstract

Methylobacterium extorquens ATCC 55366 was successfully cultivated at very high cell densities in a fed-batch fermentation system using methanol as a sole carbon and energy source and a completely minimal culture medium for the production of poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB). Cell biomass levels were between 100 g/l and 115 g/l (dry weight) and cells contained between 40% and 46% PHB on a dry-weight basis. PHB with higher molecular mass values than previously reported for methylotrophic bacteria was obtained under certain conditions. Shake-flask and fermentor experiments showed the importance of adjusting the mineral composition of the medium for improved biomass production and higher growth rates. High-cell-density cultures were obtained without the need for oxygen-enriched air; once the oxygen transfer capacity of the fermentor was reached, methanol was thereafter added in proportion to the amount of available dissolved oxygen, thus preventing oxygen limitation. Controlling the methanol concentration at a very low level (less than 0.01 g/l), during the PHB production phase, led not only to prevention of oxygen limitation but also to the production of very high-molecular-mass PHB, in the 900–1800 kDa range. Biomass yields relative to the total methanol consumed were in the range 0.29–0.33 g/g, whereas PHB yields were in the range 0.09–0.12 g/g. During the active period of PHB synthesis, PHB yields relative to the total methanol consumed were between 0.2 g/g and 0.22 g/g. M. extorquens ATCC 55366 appears to be a promising organism for industrial PHB production.

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Bourque, D., Pomerleau, Y. & Groleau, D. High-cell-density production of poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) from methanol by Methylobacterium extorquens: production of high-molecular-mass PHB. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 44, 367–376 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00169931

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00169931

Keywords

  • High Molecular Mass
  • Oxygen Limitation
  • Methylotrophic Bacterium
  • Fermentor Experiment
  • Oxygen Transfer Capacity