Previously, a safe strain, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens B10-127 was identified as an excellent candidate for industrial-scale microbial fermentation of 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BD). However, B. amyloliquefaciens fermentation yields large quantities of acetoin, lactate and succinate as by-products, and the 2,3-BD yield remains prohibitively low for commercial production.
In the 2,3-butanediol metabolic pathway, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) catalyzes the conversion of 3-phosphate glyceraldehyde to 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate, with concomitant reduction of NAD+ to NADH. In the same pathway, 2,3-BD dehydrogenase (BDH) catalyzes the conversion of acetoin to 2,3-BD with concomitant oxidation of NADH to NAD+. In this study, to improve 2,3-BD production, we first over-produced NAD+-dependent GAPDH and NADH-dependent BDH in B. amyloliquefaciens. Excess GAPDH reduced the fermentation time, increased the 2,3-BD yield by 12.7%, and decreased the acetoin titer by 44.3%. However, the process also enhanced lactate and succinate production. Excess BDH increased the 2,3-BD yield by 16.6% while decreasing acetoin, lactate and succinate production, but prolonged the fermentation time. When BDH and GAPDH were co-overproduced in B. amyloliquefaciens, the fermentation time was reduced. Furthermore, in the NADH-dependent pathways, the molar yield of 2,3-BD was increased by 22.7%, while those of acetoin, lactate and succinate were reduced by 80.8%, 33.3% and 39.5%, relative to the parent strain. In fed-batch fermentations, the 2,3-BD concentration was maximized at 132.9 g/l after 45 h, with a productivity of 2.95 g/l·h.
Co-overexpression of bdh and gapA genes proved an effective method for enhancing 2,3-BD production and inhibiting the accumulation of unwanted by-products (acetoin, lactate and succinate). To our knowledge, we have attained the highest 2,3-BD fermentation yield thus far reported for safe microorganisms.