Acetate metabolism by Escherichia coli in high-cell-density fermentation.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
G L Kleman, W R Strohl


Little is known about the cellular physiology of Escherichia coli at high cell densities (e.g., greater than 50 g [dry cell weight] per liter), particularly in relation to the cellular response to different growth conditions. E. coli W3100 cultures were grown under identical physical and nutritional conditions, by using a computer-controlled fermentation system which maintains the glucose concentration at 0.5 g/liter, to high cell densities at pH values of 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, and 7.5. The data suggest a relationship between the pH of the environment and the amount of acetate excreted by the organism during growth. At pH values of 6.0 and 6.5, the acetate reached a concentration of 6 g/liter, whereas at pH 7.5, the acetate reached a concentration of 12 g/liter. Furthermore, at pH values of 6.0 to 7.0, the E. coli culture undergoes a dramatic metabolic switch in which oxygen and glucose consumption and CO2 evolution all temporarily decreased by 50 to 80%, with a concomitant initiation of acetate utilization. After a 30-min pause in which approximately 50% of the available acetate is consumed, the culture recovers and resumes consuming glucose and oxygen and producing acetate and CO2 at preswitch levels. During the switch period, the s...Continue Reading


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