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Production of 3-hydroxypropionic acid from glycerol by acid tolerant Escherichia coli

Sankaranarayanan, Mugesh, Ashok, Somasundar, Park, Sunghoon
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology 2014 v.41 no.7 pp. 1039-1050
Escherichia coli, acid tolerance, aldehyde dehydrogenase, biological production, bioreactors, glycerol, organic acids and salts, protein synthesis, toxicity
The biological production of 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP) has attracted significant attention because of its industrial importance. The low titer, yield and productivity, all of which are related directly or indirectly to the toxicity of 3-HP, have limited the commercial production of 3-HP. The aim of this study was to identify and select a 3-HP tolerant Escherichia coli strain among nine strains reported to produce various organic acids efficiently at high titer. When transformed with heterologous glycerol dehydratase, reactivase and aldehyde dehydrogenase, all nine E. coli strains produced 3-HP from glycerol but the level of 3-HP production, protein expression and activities of the important enzymes differed significantly according to the strain. Two E. coli strains, W3110 and W, showed higher levels of growth than the others in the presence of 25 g/L 3-HP. In the glycerol fed-batch bioreactor experiments, the recombinant E. coli W produced a high level of 3-HP at 460 ± 10 mM (41.5 ± 1.1 g/L) in 48 h with a yield of 31 % and a productivity of 0.86 ± 0.05 g/L h. In contrast, the recombinant E. coli W3110 produced only 180 ± 8.5 mM 3-HP (15.3 ± 0.8 g/L) in 48 h with a yield and productivity of 26 % and 0.36 ± 0.02 g/L h, respectively. This shows that the tolerance to and the production of 3-HP differ significantly among the well-known, similar strains of E. coli. The titer and productivity obtained with E. coli W were the highest reported thus far for the biological production of 3-HP from glycerol by E. coli.