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Appl Environ Microbiol. Oct 1984; 48(4): 764–770.
PMCID: PMC241610

Control of Carbon and Electron Flow in Clostridium acetobutylicum Fermentations: Utilization of Carbon Monoxide to Inhibit Hydrogen Production and to Enhance Butanol Yields


Extracts prepared from non-solvent-producing cells of Clostridium acetobutylicum contained methyl viologen-linked hydrogenase activity (20 U/mg of protein at 37°C) but did not display carbon monoxide dehydrogenase activity. CO addition readily inhibited the hydrogenase activity of cell extracts or of viable metabolizing cells. Increasing the partial pressure of CO (2 to 10%) in unshaken anaerobic culture tube headspaces significantly inhibited (90% inhibition at 10% CO) both growth and hydrogen production by C. acetobutylicum. Growth was not sensitive to low partial pressures of CO (i.e., up to 15%) in pH-controlled fermentors (pH 4.5) that were continuously gassed and mixed. CO addition dramatically altered the glucose fermentation balance of C. acetobutylicum by diverting carbon and electrons away from H2, CO2, acetate, and butyrate production and towards production of ethanol and butanol. The butanol concentration was increased from 65 to 106 mM and the butanol productivity (i.e., the ratio of butanol produced/total acids and solvents produced) was increased by 31% when glucose fermentations maintained at pH 4.5 were continuously gassed with 85% N2-15% CO versus N2 alone. The results are discussed in terms of metabolic regulation of C. acetobutylicum saccharide fermentations to achieve maximal butanol or solvent yield.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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