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J Biosci Bioeng. 2009 Nov;108(5):385-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2009.05.008. Epub 2009 Jul 29.

Key role for transketolase activity in erythritol production by Trichosporonoides megachiliensis SN-G42.

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Nikken Chemicals Co. Ltd., 1-12-6 Tsukiji, Chuou-ku, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan.


Erythritol is an important sugar alcohol industrially produced only by fermentation. The highly osmophilic yeast-like fungi, Trichosporonoides megachiliensis SN-G42, enables commercial production of erythritol with a high conversion from glucose to erythritol of more than 47%. However, the microbial production pathway of erythritol remains unclear. In the present study, the activities of enzymes in the pentose phosphate pathway of Trichosporonoides megachiliensis SN-G42 used for industrial erythritol production were measured under various culture conditions to examine the production mechanism and the key-enzymes. As a result, the various enzyme activities of this organism are revealed in the pentose phosphate pathway, i.e., those of hexokinase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, gluconate dehydrogenase, transketolase, transaldolase, and erythrose reductase. In the cultures in which erythritol was produced after completion of cell growth, the enzyme activities of the pentose phosphate pathway were higher than those of the TCA cycle. In particular, transketolase activity was correlated with erythritol productivity under various production cultures with different agitation speeds and thiamine concentrations. These results suggest that erythritol may be produced mainly through the pentose phosphate pathway. In addition, the high activity of transketolase is required to produce abundant intermediates, which results in high erythritol productivity. As such, transketolase appears to be a key-enzyme for erythritol production in the organism studied.

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