Technological watch

Online measurement of the viscosity in shake flasks enables monitoring of ??PGA production in depolymerase knockout mutants of B. subtilis with the phosphate?starvation inducible promoter Ppst

Poly???glutamic acid (??PGA) is a biopolymer with a wide range of applications, mainly produced using Bacillus strains. The formation and concomitant secretion of ??PGA increases the culture broth viscosity, while enzymatic depolymerisation and degradation of ??PGA decreases the culture broth viscosity. In this study, the recently published ViMOS (Viscosity Monitoring Online System) is applied for optical online measurements of broth viscosity in 8 parallel shake flasks. It is shown that the ViMOS is suitable to monitor ??PGA production and degradation online in shake flasks. This online monitoring enables the detailed analysis of the Ppst promoter and ??PGA depolymerase knockout mutants in genetically modified Bacillus subtilis 168. The Ppst promoter becomes active under phosphate starvation. The different single depolymerase knockout mutants are ?ggt, ?pgdS, ?cwlO and a triple knockout mutant. An increase in ??PGA yield in g??PGA/gglucose of 190% could be achieved with the triple knockout mutant compared to the Ppst reference strain. The single cwlO knockout also increased ??PGA production, while the other single knockouts of ggt and pgdS showed no impact. Partial depolymerisation of ??PGA occurred despite the triple knockout. The online measured data are confirmed with offline measurements. The online viscosity system directly reflects ??PGA synthesis, ??PGA depolymerisation, and changes in the molecular weight. Thus, the ViMOS has great potential to rapidly gain detailed and reliable information about new strains and cultivation conditions. The broadened knowledge will facilitate the further optimization of ??PGA production.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publication date: 12/08/2022



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.