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Biotransformation of Carboxylic Acids to Alcohols: Characterization of Thermoanaerobacter Strain AK152 and 1-Propanol Production via Propionate Reduction

Authors
  • Scully, Sean Michael
  • Orlygsson, Johann
Type
Published Article
Journal
Microorganisms
Publisher
MDPI AG
Publication Date
Jun 23, 2020
Volume
8
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms8060945
PMID: 32586016
PMCID: PMC7356315
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Thermoanaerobacter strains have recently gained interest because of their ability to convert short chain fatty acids to alcohols using actively growing cells. Thermoanaerobacter thermohydrosulfuricus strain AK152 was physiologically investigated for its ethanol and other alcohol formation. The temperature and pH optimum of the strain was 70 °C and pH 7.0 and the strain degraded a variety of compounds present in lignocellulosic biomass like monosaccharides, disaccharides, and starch. The strain is highly ethanologenic, producing up to 86% of the theoretical ethanol yield form hexoses. Strain AK152 was inhibited by relatively low initial substrate (30 mM) concentration, leading to inefficient degradation of glucose and levelling up of all end-product formation. The present study shows that the strain produces alcohols from most of the tested carboxylic acids, with the highest yields for propionate conversion to propanol (40.7%) with kinetic studies demonstrating that the maximum conversion happens within the first 48 h of fermentation. Various physiological tests were performed to maximize the acid conversion to the alcohol which reveals that the optimum pH for propionate conversion is pH 6.7 which affords a 57.3% conversion. Kinetic studies reveal that propionate conversion is rapid, achieving a maximum conversion within the first 48 h of fermentation. Finally, by using 13C NMR, it was shown that the addition of propionate indeed converted to propanol.

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