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Specific growth rate and substrate dependent polyhydroxybutyrate production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Kanokarn Kocharin and Jens Nielsen*

Author Affiliations

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Kemivägen 10, Göteborg, SE-41296, Sweden

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AMB Express 2013, 3:18  doi:10.1186/2191-0855-3-18

Published: 21 March 2013


Production of the biopolymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae starts at the end of exponential phase particularly when the specific growth rate is decreased due to the depletion of glucose in the medium. The specific growth rate and the type of carbon source (fermentable/non-fermentable) have been known to influence the cell physiology and hence affect the fermentability of S. cerevisiae. The production of PHB utilizes cytosolic acetyl-CoA as a precursor and the S. cerevisiae employed in this study is therefore a strain with the enhanced cytosolic acetyl-CoA supply. Growth and PHB production at different specific growth rates were evaluated on glucose, ethanol and a mixture of glucose and ethanol as carbon source. Ethanol as carbon source yielded a higher PHB production compared to glucose since it can be directly used for cytosolic acetyl-CoA production and hence serves as a precursor for PHB production. However, this carbon source results in lower biomass yield and hence it was found that to ensure both biomass formation and PHB production a mixture of glucose and ethanol was optimal, and this resulted in the highest volumetric productivity of PHB, 8.23 mg/L · h-1, at a dilution rate of 0.1 h-1.

Polyhydroxybutyrate; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Specific growth rate