A Coculture of Photoautotrophs and Hydrolytic Heterotrophs Enables Efficient Upcycling of Starch from Wastewater toward Biomass-Derived Products: Synergistic Interactions Impacting Metabolism of the Consortium

Minmin Pan, Yiru Wang, Jens O Krömer, Xinyu Zhu, Marie Karen Tracy Hong Lin, Irini Angelidaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Even with particular interest in sustainable development, due to the limited types of bioavailable carbon sources that could support heterotrophic/mixotrophic growth, microalgae-derived products still suffer from inconsistent yield and high costs. This study demonstrates a successful cocultivation of the photoautotroph Chlorella vulgaris with a hydrolytic-enzyme-abundant heterotroph, Saccharomycopsis fibuligera, enabling efficient starch upcycling from water/wastewater toward enhancing microalgae-dominant biomass and lipid production. The enzymatic activities of S. fibuligera contributed to the hydrolysis of starch into glucose, generating a 7-fold higher biomass through mixotrophic/heterotrophic growth of C. vulgaris. Further, scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and quantitative analysis suggested a significantly induced accumulation of lipids in C. vulgaris. Results of meta-transcriptomics revealed the critical regulatory role of illumination in interaction shifting. Gene expression for glycolysis and lipid biosynthesis of C. vulgaris were highly activated during dark periods. Meanwhile, during illumination periods, genes coding for glucoamylase and the sulfur-related activities in S. fibuligera were significantly upregulated, leading to induced starch hydrolysis and potential increased competition for sulfur utilization, respectively. This study indicates that hydrolytic organisms could collaborate to make starch bioavailable for nonhydrolytic microalgae, thus broadening the substrate spectrum and making starch a novel biotechnological feedstock for microalgae-derived products, e.g., biofuels or single-cell protein.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume57
Issue number41
Pages (from-to)15523–15532
ISSN0013-936X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Eukaryotic coculture
  • Glucoamylase
  • Light regulation
  • Lipid production
  • Metatranscriptomics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A Coculture of Photoautotrophs and Hydrolytic Heterotrophs Enables Efficient Upcycling of Starch from Wastewater toward Biomass-Derived Products: Synergistic Interactions Impacting Metabolism of the Consortium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this