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Metabolic pairing of aerobic and anaerobic production in a one-pot batch cultivation

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Original languageEnglish
Article number187
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Background: The versatility of microbial metabolic pathways enables their utilization in vast number of applications. However, the electron and carbon recovery rates, essentially constrained by limitations of cell energetics, are often too low in terms of process feasibility. Cocultivation of divergent microbial species in a single process broadens the metabolic landscape, and thus, the possibilities for more complete carbon and energy utilization. Results: In this study, we integrated the metabolisms of two bacteria, an obligate anaerobe Clostridium butyricum and an obligate aerobe Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1. In the process, a glucose-negative mutant of A. baylyi ADP1 first deoxidized the culture allowing C. butyricum to grow and produce hydrogen from glucose. In the next phase, ADP1 produced long chain alkyl esters (wax esters) utilizing the by-products of C. butyricum, namely acetate and butyrate. The coculture produced 24.5 ± 0.8 mmol/l hydrogen (1.7 ± 0.1 mol/mol glucose) and 28 mg/l wax esters (10.8 mg/g glucose). Conclusions: The cocultivation of strictly anaerobic and aerobic bacteria allowed the production of both hydrogen gas and long-chain alkyl esters in a simple one-pot batch process. The study demonstrates the potential of 'metabolic pairing' using designed microbial consortia for more optimal electron and carbon recovery.


  • Hydrogen production, Integrated metabolism, Metabolic pairing, Synthetic microbial consortia, Wax esters

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