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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Feb;75(3):643-51. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01869-08. Epub 2008 Dec 1.

Large-scale production of poly(3-hydroxyoctanoic acid) by Pseudomonas putida GPo1 and a simplified downstream process.

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Institut für Molekulare Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany.


The suitability of Pseudomonas putida GPo1 for large-scale cultivation and production of poly(3-hydroxyoctanoate) (PHO) was investigated in this study. Three fed-batch cultivations of P. putida GPo1 at the 350- or 400-liter scale in a bioreactor with a capacity of 650 liters were done in mineral salts medium containing initially 20 mM sodium octanoate as the carbon source. The feeding solution included ammonium octanoate, which was fed at a relatively low concentration to promote PHO accumulation under nitrogen-limited conditions. During cultivation, the pH was regulated by addition of NaOH, NH(4)OH, or octanoic acid, which was used as an additional carbon source. Partial O(2) pressure (pO(2)) was adjusted to 20 to 40% by controlling the airflow and stirrer speed. Under the optimized conditions, P. putida GPo1 was able to grow to cell densities as high as 18, 37, and 53 g cells (dry mass) (CDM) per liter containing 49, 55, and 60% (wt/wt) of PHO, respectively. The resulting 40 kg CDM from these three cultivations was used directly for extraction of PHO. Three different methods of extraction of PHO were applied. From these, only acetone extraction showed better performance and resulted in 94% recovery of the PHO contents of cells. A novel mixture of precipitation solvents composed of 70% (vol/vol) methanol and 70% (vol/vol) ethanol was identified in this study. The ratio of PHO concentrate to the mixture was 0.2:1 (vol/vol) and allowed complete precipitation of PHO as white flakes. However, at a ratio of 1:1 (vol/vol) of the solvent mixture to PHO concentrate, a highly purified PHO was obtained. Precipitation yielded a dough-like polymeric material which was cast into thin layers and then shredded into small strips to allow evaporation of the remaining solvents. Gas chromatographic analysis revealed a purity of about 99% +/- 0.2% (wt/wt) of the polymer, which consisted mainly of 3-hydroxyoctanoic acid (96 mol%).

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