New recombinant Escherichia coli strain tailored for the production of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) from agroindustrial by-products

Pablo Ivan Nikel, Alejandra De Almeida, Evelia C. Melillo, Miguel A. Galvagno, M. Julia Pettinari

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A recombinant E. coli strain (K24K) was constructed and evaluated for poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) production from whey and corn steep liquor as main carbon and nitrogen sources. This strain bears the pha biosynthetic genes from Azotobacter sp. strain FA8 expressed from a T5 promoter under the control of the lactose operator. K24K does not produce the lactose repressor, ensuring constitutive expression of genes involved in lactose transport and utilization. PHB was efficiently produced by the recombinant strain grown aerobicallly in fed-batch cultures in a laboratory scale bioreactor on a semisynthetic medium supplemented with the agroindustrial by-products. After 24 h, cells accumulated PHB to 72.9% of their cell dry weight, reaching a volumetric productivity of 2.13 g PHB per liter per hour. Physical analysis of PHB recovered from the recombinants showed that its molecular weight was similar to that of PHB produced by Azotobacter sp. strain FA8 and higher than that of the polymer from Cupriavidus necator and that its glass transition temperature was approximately 20 °C higher than those of PHBs from the natural producer strains.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)3949-3954
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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