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1.  Recovery of Glucose from Residual Starch of Sago Hampas for Bioethanol Production 
BioMed Research International  2012;2013:935852.
Lower concentration of glucose was often obtained from enzymatic hydrolysis process of agricultural residue due to complexity of the biomass structure and properties. High substrate load feed into the hydrolysis system might solve this problem but has several other drawbacks such as low rate of reaction. In the present study, we have attempted to enhance glucose recovery from agricultural waste, namely, “sago hampas,” through three cycles of enzymatic hydrolysis process. The substrate load at 7% (w/v) was seen to be suitable for the hydrolysis process with respect to the gelatinization reaction as well as sufficient mixture of the suspension for saccharification process. However, this study was focused on hydrolyzing starch of sago hampas, and thus to enhance concentration of glucose from 7% substrate load would be impossible. Thus, an alternative method termed as cycles I, II, and III which involved reusing the hydrolysate for subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis process was introduced. Greater improvement of glucose concentration (138.45 g/L) and better conversion yield (52.72%) were achieved with the completion of three cycles of hydrolysis. In comparison, cycle I and cycle II had glucose concentration of 27.79 g/L and 73.00 g/L, respectively. The glucose obtained was subsequently tested as substrate for bioethanol production using commercial baker's yeast. The fermentation process produced 40.30 g/L of ethanol after 16 h, which was equivalent to 93.29% of theoretical yield based on total glucose existing in fermentation media.
PMCID: PMC3591117  PMID: 23509813
2.  Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from young leaves of Metroxylon sagu 
3 Biotech  2012;2(3):211-218.
Sago palm, or Metroxylon sagu, is a hardy and versatile plant that is able to tolerate many stresses, biotic and abiotic, during its growth. It is one of the plants that are able to grow in waterlogged area where others could not. Apart from that sago palm is also a source of starch, contributes economically to the people and an important export for the state of Sarawak. Despite the importance of sago palm especially in the production of starch and its ability to withstand stresses, so far, not many molecular studies have been reported on sago palm. To study the characters in sago palm, transcriptome analysis was conducted where it would give a better understanding of the plant development through gene expression. Here, we report the construction of a cDNA library and preliminary expressed sequence tags analysis from the young leaves of sago palm. A total of 434 clones were sequenced with inserts ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 bps with primary and amplified titers of 8 × 105 and 1.0 × 109 pfu/ml, respectively. Clustering of these sequences resulted in a set of 372 tentative unigenes comprising 340 singletons and 32 contigs. The database was also annotated with BLAST2GO which showed that majority of the transcripts were involved in primary metabolism and stress tolerance.
PMCID: PMC3433882
EST; cDNA; Sequencing; Metroxylon sagu; Sago palm
3.  Genetic Transformation of Metroxylon sagu (Rottb.) Cultures via Agrobacterium-Mediated and Particle Bombardment 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:348140.
Sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) is a perennial plant native to Southeast Asia and exploited mainly for the starch content in its trunk. Genetic improvement of sago palm is extremely slow when compared to other annual starch crops. Urgent attention is needed to improve the sago palm planting material and can be achieved through nonconventional methods. We have previously developed a tissue culture method for sago palm, which is used to provide the planting materials and to develop a genetic transformation procedure. Here, we report the genetic transformation of sago embryonic callus derived from suspension culture using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and gene gun systems. The transformed embryoids cells were selected against Basta (concentration 10 to 30 mg/L). Evidence of foreign genes integration and function of the bar and gus genes were verified via gene specific PCR amplification, gus staining, and dot blot analysis. This study showed that the embryogenic callus was the most suitable material for transformation as compared to the fine callus, embryoid stage, and initiated shoots. The gene gun transformation showed higher transformation efficiency than the ones transformed using Agrobacterium when targets were bombarded once or twice using 280 psi of helium pressure at 6 to 8 cm distance.
PMCID: PMC4177182  PMID: 25295258
4.  Direct production of itaconic acid from liquefied corn starch by genetically engineered Aspergillus terreus 
Itaconic acid is on the DOE (Department of Energy) top 12 list of biotechnologically produced building block chemicals and is produced commercially by Aspergillus terreus. However, the production cost of itaconic acid is too high to be economically competitive with the petrochemical-based products. Itaconic acid is generally produced from raw corn starch, including three steps: enzymatic hydrolysis of corn starch into a glucose-rich syrup by α-amylase and glucoamylase, fermentation, and recovery of itaconic acid. The whole process is very time-consuming and energy-intensive.
In order to reduce the production cost, saccharification and fermentation were integrated into one step through overexpressing the glucoamylase gene in A. terreus under the control of the native PcitA promoter. The transformant XH61-5 produced higher itaconate titer from liquefied starch than WT. To further increase the titer by enhancing the secretion capacity of overexpressed glucoamylase, a stronger signal peptide was selected based on the major secreted protein ATEG_02176 (an acid phosphatase precursor) by A. terreus under the itaconate production conditions. Under the control of the stronger signal peptide, the transformant XH86-8 showed higher itaconate production level than XH61-5 from liquefied starch. The itaconate titer was further enhanced through a two-step process involving the vegetative and production phase, and the transformant XH86-8 produced comparable itaconate titer from liquefied starch to current one (~80 g/L) from saccharified starch hydrolysates in industry. The effects of the new signal peptide and the two-step process on itaconate production were investigated and discussed.
Itaconic acid could be efficiently produced from liquefied corn starch by overexpressing the glucoamylase gene in A. terreus, which will be helpful for constructing a highly efficient microbial cell factory for itaconate production and for further lowering the production cost of itaconic acid.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12934-014-0108-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4145239  PMID: 25162619
Aspergillus terreus; Glucoamylase; Genetic engineering; Itaconate titer; Liquefied corn starch
5.  Modelling the Biphasic Growth and Product Formation by Enterococcus faecium CECT 410 in Realkalized Fed-Batch Fermentations in Whey 
The influence of initial pH on growth and nutrient (total sugars, nitrogen, and phosphorous) consumption by Enterococcus faecium CECT 410 was studied during batch cultures in whey. With these data, two realkalized fed-batch fermentations were developed using different feeding substrates. The shift from homolactic to mixed acid fermentation, the biphasic kinetics observed for cell growth and nitrogen consumption and the increase in the concentrations of biomass and products (lactic acid, acetic acid, ethanol, and butane-2,3-diol) were the most noteworthy observations of these cultures. Modelling the fed-batch growth of Ent. faecium with the Logistic and bi-Logistic models was not satisfactory. However, biomass production was best mathematically described with the use of a double Monod model, which was expressed in terms of biomass, product accumulation, and nitrogen utilization. Product formation was successfully modelled with a modified form of the Luedeking and Piret model developed in this study.
PMCID: PMC2896665  PMID: 20689729
6.  Production of lactic acid using a new homofermentative Enterococcus faecalis isolate 
Microbial Biotechnology  2014;8(2):221-229.
Lactic acid is an intermediate-volume specialty chemical for a wide range of food and industrial applications such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and chemical syntheses. Although lactic acid production has been well documented, improved production parameters that lead to reduced production costs are always of interest in industrial developments. In this study, we describe the production of lactic acid at high concentration, yield and volumetric productivity utilizing a novel homofermentative, facultative anaerobe Enterococcus faecalis CBRD01. The highest concentration of 182 g lactic acid l−1 was achieved after 38 h of fed-batch fermentation on glucose. The bacterial isolate utilized only 2–13% of carbon for its growth and energy metabolism, while 87–98% of carbon was converted to lactic acid at an overall volumetric productivity of 5 g l−1 h−1. At 13 h of fermentation, the volumetric productivity of lactate production reached 10.3 g l−1 h−1, which is the highest ever reported for microbial production of lactic acid. The lactic acid produced was of high purity as formation of other metabolites was less than 0.1%. The present investigation demonstrates a new opportunity for enhanced production of lactic acid with potential for reduced purification costs.
PMCID: PMC4353336  PMID: 24894833
7.  Non-Sterilized Fermentative Production of Polymer-Grade L-Lactic Acid by a Newly Isolated Thermophilic Strain Bacillus sp. 2–6 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4359.
The demand for lactic acid has been increasing considerably because of its use as a monomer for the synthesis of polylactic acid (PLA), which is a promising and environment-friendly alternative to plastics derived from petrochemicals. Optically pure l-lactic acid is essential for polymerization of PLA. The high fermentation cost of l-lactic acid is another limitation for PLA polymers to compete with conventional plastics.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A Bacillus sp. strain 2–6 for production of l-lactic acid was isolated at 55°C from soil samples. Its thermophilic characteristic made it a good lactic acid producer because optically pure l-lactic acid could be produced by this strain under open condition without sterilization. In 5-liter batch fermentation of Bacillus sp. 2–6, 118.0 g/liter of l-lactic acid with an optical purity of 99.4% was obtained from 121.3 g/liter of glucose. The yield was 97.3% and the average productivity was 4.37 g/liter/h. The maximum l-lactic acid concentration of 182.0 g/liter was obtained from 30-liter fed-batch fermentation with an average productivity of 3.03 g/liter/h and product optical purity of 99.4%.
With the newly isolated Bacillus sp. strain 2–6, high concentration of optically pure l-lactic acid could be produced efficiently in open fermentation without sterilization, which would lead to a new cost-effective method for polymer-grade l-lactic acid production from renewable resources.
PMCID: PMC2632756  PMID: 19194504
8.  Microbial and Physiological Characterization of Weakly Amylolytic but Fast-Growing Lactic Acid Bacteria: a Functional Role in Supporting Microbial Diversity in Pozol, a Mexican Fermented Maize Beverage 
Pozol is an acid beverage obtained from the natural fermentation of nixtamal (heat- and alkali-treated maize) dough. The concentration of mono- and disaccharides from maize is reduced during nixtamalization, so that starch is the main carbohydrate available for lactic acid fermentation. In order to provide some basis to understand the role of amylolytic lactic acid bacteria (ALAB) in this fermented food, their diversity and physiological characteristics were determined. Forty amylolytic strains were characterized by phenotypic and molecular taxonomic methods. Four different biotypes were distinguished via ribotyping; Streptococcus bovis strains were found to be predominant. Streptococcus macedonicus, Lactococcus lactis, and Enterococcus sulfureus strains were also identified. S. bovis strain 25124 showed extremely low amylase yield relative to biomass (139 U g [cell dry weight]−1) and specific rate of amylase production (130.7 U g [cell dry weight]−1 h−1). In contrast, it showed a high specific growth rate (0.94 h−1) and an efficient energy conversion yield to bacterial cell biomass (0.31 g of biomass g of substrate−1). These would confer on the strain a competitive advantage and are the possible reasons for its dominance. Transient accumulation of maltooligosaccharides during fermentation could presumably serve as energy sources for nonamylolytic species in pozol fermentation. This would explain the observed diversity and the dominance of nonamylolytic lactic acid bacteria at the end of fermentation. These results are the first step to understanding the importance of ALAB during pozol fermentation.
PMCID: PMC169132  PMID: 12902217
9.  Direct fermentation of potato starch and potato residues to lactic acid by Geobacillus stearothermophilus under non-sterile conditions 
Lactic acid is an important biorefinery platform chemical. The use of thermophilic amylolytic microorganisms to produce lactic acid by fermentation constitutes an efficient strategy to reduce operating costs, including raw materials and sterilization costs.
A process for the thermophilic production of lactic acid by Geobacillus stearothermophilus directly from potato starch was characterized and optimized. Geobacillus stearothermophilus DSM 494 was selected out of 12 strains screened for amylolytic activity and the ability to form lactic acid as the major product of the anaerobic metabolism. In total more than 30 batches at 3–l scale were run at 60 °C under non-sterile conditions. The process developed produced 37 g L−1 optically pure (98%) L-lactic acid in 20 h from 50 g L−1 raw potato starch. As co-metabolites smaller amounts (<7% w/v) of acetate, formate and ethanol were formed. Yields of lactic acid increased from 66% to 81% when potato residues from food processing were used as a starchy substrate in place of raw potato starch.
Potato starch and residues were successfully converted to lactic acid by G. stearothermophilus. The process described in this study provides major benefits in industrial applications and for the valorization of starch-rich waste streams. © 2015 The Authors.Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.
PMCID: PMC4409858  PMID: 25937690
Geobacillus stearothermophilus; thermophiles; lactic acid; fermentation; starch; amylolytic bacteria
10.  Efficient Open Fermentative Production of Polymer-Grade L-Lactate from Sugarcane Bagasse Hydrolysate by Thermotolerant Bacillus sp. Strain P38 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107143.
Lactic acid is one of the top 30 potential building-block chemicals from biomass, of which the most extensive use is in the polymerization of lactic acid to poly-lactic-acid (PLA). To reduce the cost of PLA, the search for cheap raw materials and low-cost process for lactic acid production is highly desired. In this study, the final titer of produced L-lactic acid reached a concentration of 185 g·L−1 with a volumetric productivity of 1.93 g·L−1·h−1 by using sugarcane bagasse hydrolysate as the sole carbon source simultaneously with cottonseed meal as cheap nitrogen sources under the open fed-batch fermentation process. Furthermore, a lactic acid yield of 0.99 g per g of total reducing sugars was obtained, which is very close to the theoretical value (1.0 g g−1). No D-isomer of lactic acid was detected in the broth, and thereafter resulted in an optical purity of 100%, which exceeds the requirement of lactate polymerization process. To our knowledge, this is the best performance of fermentation on polymer-grade L-lactic acid production totally using lignocellulosic sources. The high levels of optically pure l-lactic acid produced, combined with the ease of handling and low costs associated with the open fermentation strategy, indicated the thermotolerant Bacillus sp. P38 could be an excellent candidate strain with great industrial potential for polymer-grade L-lactic acid production from various cellulosic biomasses.
PMCID: PMC4156441  PMID: 25192451
11.  Application of Response Surface Methodology for Optimizing Arginine Deiminase Production Medium for Enterococcus faecium sp. GR7 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:892587.
Arginine metabolism in Enterococcus faecium sp. GR7 was enhanced via arginine deiminase pathway. Process parameters including fermentation media and environmental conditions were optimized using independent experiments and response surface methodology (central composite design). Fermentation media (EAPM) were optimized using independent experiments which resulted in 4-fold increase in arginine deiminase specific activity as compared to basal medium. To further enhance arginine deiminase activity in E. faecium sp. GR7 and biomass production including a five-level central composite design (CCD) was employed to study the interactive effect of three-process variables. Response surface methodology suggested a quadratic model which was further validated experimentally where it showed approximately 15-fold increase in arginine metabolism (in terms of arginine deiminase specific activity) over basal medium. By solving the regression equation and analyzing the response surface cartons, optimal concentrations of the media components (g/L) were determined as arginine 20.0; tryptone 15.0; lactose 10.0; K2HPO4 3.0; NaCl 1.0, MnSO4 0.6 mM; Tween 80 1%; pH 6.0 for achieving specific arginine deiminase activity of 4.6 IU/mG with concomitant biomass production of 12.1 mg/L. The model is significant as the coefficient of determination (R2) was 0.87 to 0.90 for all responses. Enhanced arginine deiminase yield from E. faecium, a GRAS lactic acid bacterial strain, is desirable to explore in vitro therapeutic potential of the arginine metabolizing E. faecium sp. GR7.
PMCID: PMC3877641  PMID: 24453919
12.  Homofermentative production of optically pure L-lactic acid from xylose by genetically engineered Escherichia coli B 
Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable polymer, has the potential to replace (at least partially) traditional petroleum-based plastics, minimizing “white pollution”. However, cost-effective production of optically pure L-lactic acid is needed to achieve the full potential of PLA. Currently, starch-based glucose is used for L-lactic acid fermentation by lactic acid bacteria. Due to its competition with food resources, an alternative non-food substrate such as cellulosic biomass is needed for L-lactic acid fermentation. Nevertheless, the substrate (sugar stream) derived from cellulosic biomass contains significant amounts of xylose, which is unfermentable by most lactic acid bacteria. However, the microorganisms that do ferment xylose usually carry out heterolactic acid fermentation. As a result, an alternative strain should be developed for homofermentative production of optically pure L-lactic acid using cellulosic biomass.
In this study, an ethanologenic Escherichia coli strain, SZ470 (ΔfrdBC ΔldhA ΔackA ΔpflB ΔpdhR ::pflBp6-acEF-lpd ΔmgsA), was reengineered for homofermentative production of L-lactic acid from xylose (1.2 mole xylose = > 2 mole L-lactic acid), by deleting the alcohol dehydrogenase gene (adhE) and integrating the L-lactate dehydrogenase gene (ldhL) of Pediococcus acidilactici. The resulting strain, WL203, was metabolically evolved further through serial transfers in screw-cap tubes containing xylose, resulting in the strain WL204 with improved anaerobic cell growth. When tested in 70 g L-1 xylose fermentation (complex medium), WL204 produced 62 g L-1 L-lactic acid, with a maximum production rate of 1.631 g L-1 h-1 and a yield of 97% based on xylose metabolized. HPLC analysis using a chiral column showed that an L-lactic acid optical purity of 99.5% was achieved by WL204.
These results demonstrated that WL204 has the potential for homofermentative production of L-lactic acid using cellulosic biomass derived substrates, which contain a significant amount of xylose.
PMCID: PMC3693985  PMID: 23758664
E. coli; Genetic engineering; L-lactic acid; PLA; Xylose fermentation
13.  Efficient production of l-lactic acid by an engineered Thermoanaerobacterium aotearoense with broad substrate specificity 
Efficient conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to optically pure lactic acid is a key challenge for the economical production of biodegradable poly-lactic acid. A recently isolated strain, Thermoanaerobacterium aotearoense SCUT27, is promising as an efficient lactic acid production bacterium from biomass due to its broad substrate specificity. Additionally, its strictly anaerobic and thermophilic characteristics suppress contamination from other microoragnisms. Herein, we report the significant improvements of concentration and yield in lactic acid production from various lignocellulosic derived sugars, achieved by the carbon flux redirection through homologous recombination in T. aotearoense SCUT27.
T. aotearoense SCUT27 was engineered to block the acetic acid formation pathway to improve the lactic acid production. The genetic manipulation resulted in 1.8 and 2.1 fold increase of the lactic acid yield using 10 g/L of glucose or 10 g/L of xylose as substrate, respectively. The maximum l-lactic acid yield of 0.93 g/g glucose with an optical purity of 99.3% was obtained by the engineered strain, designated as LA1002, from 50 g/L of substrate, which is very close to the theoretical value (1.0 g/g of glucose). In particular, LA1002 produced lactic acid at an unprecedented concentration up to 3.20 g/L using 10 g/L xylan as the single substrate without any pretreatment after 48 h fermentation. The non-sterilized fermentative production of l-lactic acid was also carried out, achieving values of 44.89 g/L and 0.89 g/g mixed sugar for lactic acid concentration and yield, respectively.
Blocking acetic acid formation pathway in T. aotearoense SCUT27 increased l-lactic acid production and yield dramatically. To our best knowledge, this is the best performance of fermentation on lactic acid production using xylan as the sole carbon source, considering the final concentration, yield and fermentation time. In addition, it should be mentioned that the performance of non-sterilized simultaneous fermentation from glucose and xylose was very close to that of normal sterilized cultivation. All these results used the mutant strain, LA1002, indicated that it is a new promising candidate for the effective production of optically pure l-lactic acid from lignocellulosic biomass.
PMCID: PMC3766646  PMID: 23985133
l-Lactic acid; Metabolic engineering; Lignocellulosic derived sugars; Xylan; Non-sterilized fermentation
14.  Saccharification and liquefaction of cassava starch: an alternative source for the production of bioethanol using amylolytic enzymes by double fermentation process 
BMC Biotechnology  2014;14:49.
Cassava starch is considered as a potential source for the commercial production of bioethanol because of its availability and low market price. It can be used as a basic source to support large-scale biological production of bioethanol using microbial amylases. With the progression and advancement in enzymology, starch liquefying and saccharifying enzymes are preferred for the conversion of complex starch polymer into various valuable metabolites. These hydrolytic enzymes can selectively cleave the internal linkages of starch molecule to produce free glucose which can be utilized to produce bioethanol by microbial fermentation.
In the present study, several filamentous fungi were screened for production of amylases and among them Aspergillus fumigatus KIBGE-IB33 was selected based on maximum enzyme yield. Maximum α-amylase, amyloglucosidase and glucose formation was achieved after 03 days of fermentation using cassava starch. After salt precipitation, fold purification of α-amylase and amyloglucosidase increased up to 4.1 and 4.2 times with specific activity of 9.2 kUmg-1 and 393 kUmg-1, respectively. Concentrated amylolytic enzyme mixture was incorporated in cassava starch slurry to give maximum glucose formation (40.0 gL-1), which was further fermented using Saccharomyces cerevisiae into bioethanol with 84.0% yield. The distillate originated after recovery of bioethanol gave 53.0% yield.
An improved and effective dual enzymatic starch degradation method is designed for the production of bioethanol using cassava starch. The technique developed is more profitable due to its fast liquefaction and saccharification approach that was employed for the formation of glucose and ultimately resulted in higher yields of alcohol production.
PMCID: PMC4048251  PMID: 24885587
Amylases; Aspergillus fumigatus; Biofuel; Saccharification; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Starch
15.  L (+)-lactic acid production by pellet-form Rhizopus oryzae NRRL 395 on biodiesel crude glycerol 
Given its availability and low price, glycerol derived from biodiesel industry has become an ideal feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals. A solution to reduce the negative environmental problems and the cost of biodiesel is to use crude glycerol as carbon source for microbial growth media in order to produce valuable organic chemicals. In the present paper, crude glycerol was used as carbon substrate for production of L (+)-lactic acid using pelletized fungus R. oryzae NRRL 395 on batch fermentation. More, the experiments were conducted on media supplemented with inorganic nutrients and lucerne green juice.
Crude and pure glycerols were first used to produce the highest biomass yield of R. oryzae NRRL 395. An enhanced lactic acid production then followed up using fed-batch fermentation with crude glycerol, inorganic nutrients and lucerne green juice. The optimal crude glycerol concentration for cultivating R. oryzae NRRL 395 was 75 g l-1, which resulted in a fungal biomass yield of 0.72 g g-1 in trial without lucerne green juice addition and 0.83 g g-1 in trial with lucerne green juice. The glycerol consumption rate was 1.04 g l-1 h-1 after 48 h in trial with crude glycerol 75 g l-1 while in trial with crude glycerol 10 g l-1 the lowest rate of 0.12 g l-1 h-1 was registered. The highest L (+)-lactic acid yield (3.72 g g-1) was obtained at the crude glycerol concentration of 75 g l-1 and LGJ 25 g l-1, and the concentration of lactic acid was approximately 48 g l-1.
This work introduced sustainable opportunities for L (+)-lactic acid production via R. oryzae NRRL 395 fermentation on biodiesel crude glycerol media. The results showed good fungal growth on crude glycerol at 75 g l-1 concentration with lucerne green juice supplementation of 25 g l-1. Lucerne green juice provided a good source of nutrients for crude glycerol fermentation, without needs for supplementation with inorganic nutrients. Crude glycerol and lucerne green juice ratio influence the L (+)-lactic acid production, increasing the lactate productivity with the concentration of crude glycerol.
PMCID: PMC3832941  PMID: 24112554
16.  Production of gamma-aminobutyric acid by Lactobacillus brevis NCL912 using fed-batch fermentation 
Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in mammalian brains, and has several well-known physiological functions. Lactic acid bacteria possess special physiological activities and are generally regarded as safe. Therefore, using lactic acid bacteria as cell factories for gamma-aminobutyric acid production is a fascinating project and opens up a vast range of prospects for making use of GABA and LAB. We previously screened a high GABA-producer Lactobacillus brevis NCL912 and optimized its fermentation medium composition. The results indicated that the strain showed potential in large-scale fermentation for the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid. To increase the yielding of GABA, further study on the fermentation process is needed before the industrial application in the future. In this article we investigated the impacts of pyridoxal-5'-phosphate, pH, temperature and initial glutamate concentration on gamma-aminobutyric acid production by Lactobacillus brevis NCL912 in flask cultures. According to the data obtained in the above, a simple and effective fed-batch fermentation method was developed to highly efficiently convert glutamate to gamma-aminobutyric acid.
Pyridoxal-5'-phosphate did not affect the cell growth and gamma-aminobutyric acid production of Lb. brevis NCL912. Temperature, pH and initial glutamate concentration had significant effects on the cell growth and gamma-aminobutyric acid production of Lb. brevis NCL912. The optimal temperature, pH and initial glutamate concentration were 30-35°C, 5.0 and 250-500 mM. In the following fed-batch fermentations, temperature, pH and initial glutamate concentration were fixed as 32°C, 5.0 and 400 mM. 280.70 g (1.5 mol) and 224.56 g (1.2 mol) glutamate were supplemented into the bioreactor at 12 h and 24 h, respectively. Under the selected fermentation conditions, gamma-aminobutyric acid was rapidly produced at the first 36 h and almost not produced after then. The gamma-aminobutyric acid concentration reached 1005.81 ± 47.88 mM, and the residual glucose and glutamate were 15.28 ± 0.51 g L-1 and 134.45 ± 24.22 mM at 48 h.
A simple and effective fed-batch fermentation method was developed for Lb. brevis NCL912 to produce gamma-aminobutyric acid. The results reveal that Lb. brevis NCL912 exhibits a great application potential in large-scale fermentation for the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid.
PMCID: PMC2996345  PMID: 21070676
17.  The Effect of a Silage Inoculant on Silage Quality, Aerobic Stability, and Meat Production on Farm Scale 
ISRN Veterinary Science  2012;2012:345927.
The effect of inoculation on nutrient content, fermentation, aerobic stability, and beef cattle performance for whole-plant corn silage treated with a commercial product (blend of homo- and heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria, BSM, blend of Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus brevis, DSM numbers 3530, 19457, and 23231, resp.), was compared to a control treatment with no silage additives (CT). The material had a DM of 323 g/kg, crude protein, and water-soluble carbohydrate concentrations of 87.9 and 110.5 g/kg DM, respectively. BSM increased the fermentation rate with a significantly deeper pH (P < 0.01), a significant increase in the total organic acids concentration (P < 0.05), more lactic acid (P < 0.01), and numerically more acetic acid compared to CT. BSM significantly decreased the concentrations of butyric acid (P < 0.01), ethanol, and ammonia-N compared to the CT. BSM-treated silage decreased DM by 3.0 % (P < 0.01) and had a higher digestible energy and a higher metabolizable energy concentration by 2.3 (P < 0.01) and 1.00 % (P < 0.05), respectively, compared to untreated silage. Aerobic stability improved by more than 2 days in BSM silage. The DM intake of silage treated with BSM increased by 6.14 %, and improved weight gain and the feed conversion by 8.0 (P < 0.01) and 3.4%.
PMCID: PMC3658818  PMID: 23738122
18.  On-farm solid state simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of whole crop forage rice in wrapped round bale for ethanol production 
In an attempt to reduce environmental loading during ethanol production from cellulosic plant biomass, we have previously proposed an on-site solid state fermentation (SSF) method for producing ethanol from whole crops, which at the same time provides cattle feed without producing wastes. During the ensiling of freshly harvested plant biomass with cellulase and glucoamylase, the added yeast and lactic acid bacteria induced simultaneous saccharification and production of ethanol and lactic acid in hermetically sealed containers on-farm. In a previous study, laboratory-scale SSF (using 250 g of fresh rice crop biomass) yielded 16.9 weight % ethanol in dry matter (DM) after 20 days of incubation. In this study, the fermentation volume was scaled up to a normal-sized round bale and the fermentation process (ethanol concentrations of the products) was monitored. The ethanol produced was recovered and the recovery efficiency was evaluated.
SSF tests with forage rice round bales using polyethylene-wrapped whole plant materials (cultivar Leaf Star, average of 125.2 kg dry weight) were monitored in the field without temperature control. They yielded 14.0 weight % ethanol and 2.9 weight % lactic acid in DM after six months of incubation, and the ethanol ratio in the bale remained stable for 14 months after processing. SSF tests with three different rice cultivars were conducted for three years. Ethanol recovery from a fermented whole bale (244 kg fresh matter (FM) containing about 12.4 kg ethanol) by one-step distillation using vacuum distillation equipment yielded 86.3% ethanol collected from distilled solution (107 kg of 10.0 weight % ethanol). In addition, an average of 1.65 kg ethanol in 40.8 kg effluent per bale was recovered. Relative nitrogen content was higher in SSF products than in silage made from the same plant material, indicating that fermentation residue, whose quality is stabilized by the lactic acid produced, can be used as cattle feed.
We have successfully demonstrated an efficient on-site ethanol production system with non-sterilized whole rice crop round bale. However, issues concerning the establishment of the ethanol recovery procedure on-site and evaluation of the fermentation residue as cattle feed have to be addressed.
PMCID: PMC4311456  PMID: 25642286
Bioethanol; Solid state fermentation; Whole crop forage rice; Round bale; Nutritional value
19.  A potential synbiotic product improves the lipid profile of diabetic rats 
Previous studies showed that intake of yacon or some lactic acid bacteria was able to inhibit the development of diabetes mellitus, by reducing glucose and associated symptoms, for example, the lipid profile.
The purpose of this study was to assess the consumption influence of a potential symbiotic product of soybean and yacon extract and fermented Enterococcus faecium CRL 183 and Lactobacillus helveticus ssp jugurti 416 in reducing blood glucose and lipid levels in an animal model.
Diabetes mellitus was chemically induced by intraperitoneal administration of streptozotocin (50 mg/kg body weight). The rats were divided into four groups (n=10): GI – non-diabetic animals that received only a standard chow diet (negative control), GII – diabetic animals that received only chow diet (positive control), GIII – diabetic animals that received the chow diet + 1 mL/kg body weight/day of soybean and yacon unfermented product, GIV – diabetic rats that received the chow diet + 1 mL/kg body weight/day of soybean and yacon fermented product. There was a seven-week treatment period and the following parameters were evaluated: animal body weight, food and water intake, blood glucose, enzyme activities of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), triglycerides levels, total cholesterol, HDL-C, non-HDL-C. Cell viability of the fermented product was checked weekly for a seven-week period.
The product average viable population was 108-109 CFU/mL, by ensuring both the rods and cocci regular intake. No difference was observed between the water and feed intake and body weight of groups that received unfermented and fermented products and the untreated diabetic group. The same was observed for the blood glucose and AST and ALT activities, while some improvement was observed for a lipid profile, represented by reduction of triglycerides level by 15.07% and 33.50% in groups III and IV, respectively, and an increase of 23.70% in HDL-C level for group IV.
The results showed that the ingestion of a potential symbiotic product was neither able to promote improvement in some of the disease symptoms, nor reduce blood glucose. However, a positive effect on triglycerides levels and HDL-cholesterol was observed in the groups that received the unfermented product containing yacon extract and the fermented product with Enterococcus faecium CRL 183, as well as Lactobacillus helveticus ssp jugurti 416 and yacon extract (symbiotic product).
PMCID: PMC3502481  PMID: 22963080
Fermented soy product; Probiotics; Prebiotics; Diabetes mellitus; Blood glucose; Lipid profile
20.  Display of α-Amylase on the Surface of Lactobacillus casei Cells by Use of the PgsA Anchor Protein, and Production of Lactic Acid from Starch 
We developed a new cell surface engineering system based on the PgsA anchor protein from Bacillus subtilis. In this system, the N terminus of the target protein was fused to the PgsA protein and the resulting fusion protein was expressed on the cell surface. Using this new system, we constructed a novel starch-degrading strain of Lactobacillus casei by genetically displaying α-amylase from the Streptococcus bovis strain 148 with a FLAG peptide tag (AmyAF). Localization of the PgsA-AmyA-FLAG fusion protein on the cell surface was confirmed by immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometric analysis. The lactic acid bacteria which displayed AmyAF showed significantly elevated hydrolytic activity toward soluble starch. By fermentation using AmyAF-displaying L. casei cells, 50 g/liter of soluble starch was reduced to 13.7 g/liter, and 21.8 g/liter of lactic acid was produced within about 24 h. The yield in terms of grams of lactic acid produced per gram of carbohydrate utilized was 0.60 g per g of carbohydrate consumed at 24 h. Since AmyA was immobilized on the cells, cells were recovered after fermentation and used repeatedly. During repeated utilization of cells, the lactic acid yield was improved to 0.81 g per g of carbohydrate consumed at 72 h. These results indicate that efficient simultaneous saccharification and fermentation from soluble starch to lactic acid were carried out by recombinant L. casei cells with cell surface display of AmyA.
PMCID: PMC1352207  PMID: 16391053
21.  The Role of Lactic Acid Adsorption by Ion Exchange Chromatography 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e13948.
The polyacrylic resin Amberlite IRA-67 is a promising adsorbent for lactic acid extraction from aqueous solution, but little systematic research has been devoted to the separation efficiency of lactic acid under different operating conditions.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this paper, we investigated the effects of temperature, resin dose and lactic acid loading concentration on the adsorption of lactic acid by Amberlite IRA-67 in batch kinetic experiments. The obtained kinetic data followed the pseudo-second order model well and both the equilibrium and ultimate adsorption slightly decreased with the increase of the temperature at 293–323K and 42.5 g/liter lactic acid loading concentration. The adsorption was a chemically heterogeneous process with a mean free energy value of 12.18 kJ/mol. According to the Boyd_plot, the lactic acid uptake process was primarily found to be an intraparticle diffusion at a lower concentration (<50 g/liter) but a film diffusion at a higher concentration (>70 g/liter). The values of effective diffusion coefficient Di increased with temperature. By using our Equation (21), the negative values of ΔG° and ΔH° revealed that the adsorption process was spontaneous and exothermic. Moreover, the negative value of ΔS° reflected the decrease of solid-liquid interface randomness at the solid-liquid interface when adsorbing lactic acid on IRA-67.
With the weakly basic resin IRA-67, in situ product removal of lactic acid can be accomplished especially from an open and thermophilic fermentation system without sterilization.
PMCID: PMC2978715  PMID: 21085600
22.  Optimization of L-(+)-lactic acid production by ring and disc plastic composite supports through repeated-batch biofilm fermentation. 
Four customized bioreactors, three with plastic composite supports (PCS) and one with suspended cells (control), were operated as repeated-batch fermentors for 66 days at pH 5 and 37 degrees C. The working volume of each customized reactor was 600 ml, and each reactor's medium was changed every 2 to 5 days for 17 batches. The performance of PCS bioreactors in long-term biofilm repeated-batch fermentation was compared with that of suspended-cell bioreactors in this research. PCS could stimulate biofilm formation, supply nutrients to attached and free suspended cells, and reduce medium channelling for lactic acid production. Compared with conventional repeated-batch fermentation, PCS bioreactors shortened the lag time by threefold (control, 11 h; PCS, 3.5 h) and sixfold (control, 9 h; PCS, 1.5 h) at yeast extract concentrations of 0.4 and 0.8% (wt/vol), respectively. They also increased the lactic acid productivity of Lactobacillus casei subsp. rhamnosus (ATCC 11443) by 40 to 70% and shortened the total fermentation time by 28 to 61% at all yeast extract concentrations. The fastest productivity of the PCS bioreactors (4.26 g/liter/h) was at a starting glucose concentration of 10% (wt/vol), whereas that of the control (2.78 g/liter/h) was at 8% (wt/vol). PCS biofilm lactic acid fermentation can drastically improve the fermentation rate with reduced complex-nutrient addition.
PMCID: PMC168550  PMID: 9212403
23.  Utilization of Molasses Sugar for Lactic Acid Production by Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii Mutant Uc-3 in Batch Fermentation▿  
Efficient lactic acid production from cane sugar molasses by Lactobacillus delbrueckii mutant Uc-3 in batch fermentation process is demonstrated. Lactic acid fermentation using molasses was not significantly affected by yeast extract concentrations. The final lactic acid concentration increased with increases of molasses sugar concentrations up to 190 g/liter. The maximum lactic acid concentration of 166 g/liter was obtained at a molasses sugar concentration of 190 g/liter with a productivity of 4.15 g/liter/h. Such a high concentration of lactic acid with high productivity from molasses has not been reported previously, and hence mutant Uc-3 could be a potential candidate for economical production of lactic acid from molasses at a commercial scale.
PMCID: PMC2223217  PMID: 17981933
24.  Organism-Adapted Specificity of the Allosteric Regulation of Pyruvate Kinase in Lactic Acid Bacteria 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(7):e1003159.
Pyruvate kinase (PYK) is a critical allosterically regulated enzyme that links glycolysis, the primary energy metabolism, to cellular metabolism. Lactic acid bacteria rely almost exclusively on glycolysis for their energy production under anaerobic conditions, which reinforces the key role of PYK in their metabolism. These organisms are closely related, but have adapted to a huge variety of native environments. They include food-fermenting organisms, important symbionts in the human gut, and antibiotic-resistant pathogens. In contrast to the rather conserved inhibition of PYK by inorganic phosphate, the activation of PYK shows high variability in the type of activating compound between different lactic acid bacteria. System-wide comparative studies of the metabolism of lactic acid bacteria are required to understand the reasons for the diversity of these closely related microorganisms. These require knowledge of the identities of the enzyme modifiers. Here, we predict potential allosteric activators of PYKs from three lactic acid bacteria which are adapted to different native environments. We used protein structure-based molecular modeling and enzyme kinetic modeling to predict and validate potential activators of PYK. Specifically, we compared the electrostatic potential and the binding of phosphate moieties at the allosteric binding sites, and predicted potential allosteric activators by docking. We then made a kinetic model of Lactococcus lactis PYK to relate the activator predictions to the intracellular sugar-phosphate conditions in lactic acid bacteria. This strategy enabled us to predict fructose 1,6-bisphosphate as the sole activator of the Enterococcus faecalis PYK, and to predict that the PYKs from Streptococcus pyogenes and Lactobacillus plantarum show weaker specificity for their allosteric activators, while still having fructose 1,6-bisphosphate play the main activator role in vivo. These differences in the specificity of allosteric activation may reflect adaptation to different environments with different concentrations of activating compounds. The combined computational approach employed can readily be applied to other enzymes.
Author Summary
Some lactic acid bacteria are antibiotic resistant pathogens causing severe diseases whereas others are healthy probiotics used in the food industry. What makes an LAB a friend or a foe and how do they adapt to survive in such different environments? Here, we addressed this problem by focusing on the enzyme pyruvate kinase, which plays a central role in the metabolism of lactic acid bacteria. This enzyme needs to react quickly to changes in the environment and, therefore, its activity is strictly regulated. In this study, we used computational techniques to predict the cellular substances, called allosteric activators that are responsible for the quick and effective activation of pyruvate kinase. We modeled the three dimensional structures of pyruvate kinases from different bacteria and computed interactions with possible activators. We simulated the dynamic behavior of the pyruvate kinase activity and, considering the cellular concentrations of metabolites in the different organisms, predicted the activators. We found that different lactic acid bacteria have different preferences for activators and that the level of activator specificity can be related to the environment in which the bacteria live.
PMCID: PMC3738050  PMID: 23946717
25.  L-Lactic Acid Production by Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 10863 
The Scientific World Journal  2015;2015:501029.
Lactic acid has been shown to have the most promising application in biomaterials as poly(lactic acid). L. rhamnosus ATCC 10863 that produces L-lactic acid was used to perform the fermentation and molasses was used as substrate. A solution containing 27.6 g/L of sucrose (main composition of molasses) and 3.0 g/L of yeast extract was prepared, considering the final volume of 3,571 mL (14.0% (v/v) inoculum). Batch and fed batch fermentations were performed with temperature of 43.4°C and pH of 5.0. At the fed batch, three molasses feed were applied at 12, 24, and 36 hours. Samples were taken every two hours and the amounts of lactic acid, sucrose, glucose, and fructose were determined by HPLC. The sucrose was barely consumed at both processes; otherwise the glucose and fructose were almost entirely consumed. 16.5 g/L of lactic acid was produced at batch and 22.0 g/L at fed batch. Considering that lactic acid was produced due to the low concentration of the well consumed sugars, the final amount was considerable. The cell growth was checked and no substrate inhibition was observed. A sucrose molasses hydrolysis is suggested to better avail the molasses fermentation with this strain, surely increasing the L-lactic acid.
PMCID: PMC4397478  PMID: 25922852

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