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Biotechnol Bioeng. 1997 May 20;54(4):391-9.

Fed-batch xylitol production with two recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains expressing XYL1 at different levels, using glucose as a cosubstrate: a comparison of production parameters and strain stability.

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Applied Microbiology, Lund Institute of Technology/University of Lund, P.O. Box 124, S-22 100 Lund, Sweden.


Xylitol production with two recombinant Sacharomyces cerevisiae strains expressing the XYL1 gene, coding for xylose reductase (XR), at different levels, the 'low XR strain' at 0.51 U/mg and the 'high XR strain' at 10.8 U/mg, was compared in batch and fed-batch culture. Xylose was not consumed in the presence of high glucose concentrations, because both sugars are transported by the glucose transport system, which has a higher affinity for glucose than for xylose. When glucose was fed gradually to the culture, high concentrations were avoided, and xylose was converted to xylitol with a specific productivity of 0.10 g g(-1) h(-1) attained with the low XR strain and 0.19 g g(-1) h(-1) with the high XR strain, indicating that factors other than the XR-activity control the rate of xylose conversion.The overproduction of XR put a substantial protein burden on the high XR strain, contributing to a 50% decrease in specific growth rate and reduced biomass yield compared with the low XR strain. Despite the use of selective medium, the stability of the high XR strain was poor in long fed-batch and chemostat cultures, whereas the low XR strain was stable. The high XR strain lost its XR activity almost completely in some fed-batch cultures and in chemostat culture. In chemostat cultivation, part of the population lost the plasmid harboring the XR gene. This was due to the fact that leucine was released into the broth from plasmid containing cells, which enabled some cells to grow without the plasmid containing the LEU2 auxotrophic complementation selection marker. Furthermore, isolation and analysis of plasmids from a population that had lost its XR activity, showed that in addition to the original plasmid, a rearranged form of the plasmid, retaining the selection marker but not the expression of active XR, was present. However, these observations could only partly explain the decrease in XR activity. (c) 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Biotechnol Bioeng 54: 391-399, 1997.

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