Production of Medium-Chain-Length Poly(3-Hydroxyalkanoates) Using Pseudomonas Citronellolis DSM50332 and P. Putida KT2440 in Continuous Reactor Systems
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In vivo production of medium-chain-length poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (MCL-PHA) containing a side chain carboxyl group from azelaic acid (AzA), a nine-carbon α,ω-dicarboxylic acid, was investigated using Pseudomonas citronellolis DSM 50332 in a phosphate (P)-limited chemostat. Co-feeding with nonanoic acid (NA) and inhibition of β-oxidation with acrylic acid (AA) were strategies that were used to stimulate the incorporation of carboxylated monomers, but both were unsuccessful. P. citronellolis DSM50332 was capable of growing on AzA as a sole source of carbon and energy, indicating that enzymes in β-oxidation utilized AzA and its derivatives. However, the MCL-PHA produced from AzA comprised 3-hydroxyoctanoate (C8) and 3-hydroxydecanoate (C10) monomers, which was consistent with precursor supplied via the de novo fatty acid biosynthesis pathway. This evidence suggests that one or more of 3-ketoacyl-CoA reductase (FabG), enoyl-CoA hydratase (PhaJ) and PHA synthase (PhaC) of this organism do not have the low specificity required to utilize a carboxylated substrate. Future work involving mutations may broaden the substrate specificity of these key enzymes to overcome this obstacle. Two-stage high-cell density carbon (C)-limited chemostat cultivation of P. putida KT2440 was examined for MCL-PHA production from nonanoic acid (NA) at high intracellular polymer content and volumetric productivity. Growth conditions stimulating good PHA production were first established in single-stage chemostat, which yielded 63.1 wt% PHA containing 90 mol% C9 units and a productivity of 1.52 g L-1h-1 at a dilution rate of 0.30 h-1. This productivity was higher than any value reported in literature for continuous MCL-PHA production systems and comparable to the upper range of fed-batch results. Two-stage production yielded promising results, notably the increase in polymer content from the first to second stage. However, complications involving foaming and an unexplained decline in PHA content adversely affected system performance. The best PHA content and overall productivity were 58.5 wt% and 0.76 g L-1h-1, respectively. Nonetheless, the results demonstrate the potential to achieve high PHA content without the need for pure oxygen at high dilution rates, warranting further investigation focusing on the optimization of growth conditions.