Efficient bioconversion of 2,3-butanediol into acetoin using Gluconobacter oxydans DSM 2003
© Wang et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
Received: 20 July 2013
Accepted: 22 October 2013
Published: 31 October 2013
2,3-Butanediol is a platform and fuel biochemical that can be efficiently produced from biomass. However, a value-added process for this chemical has not yet been developed. To expand the utilization of 2,3-butanediol produced from biomass, an improved derivative process of 2,3-butanediol is desirable.
In this study, a Gluconobacter oxydans strain DSM 2003 was found to have the ability to transform 2,3-butanediol into acetoin, a high value feedstock that can be widely used in dairy and cosmetic products, and chemical synthesis. All three stereoisomers, meso-2,3-butanediol, (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, and (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol, could be transformed into acetoin by the strain. After optimization of the bioconversion conditions, the optimum growth temperature for acetoin production by strain DSM 2003 was found to be 30°C and the medium pH was 6.0. With an initial 2,3-butanediol concentration of 40 g/L, acetoin at a high concentration of 89.2 g/L was obtained from 2,3-butanediol by fed-batch bioconversion with a high productivity (1.24 g/L · h) and high yield (0.912 mol/mol).
G. oxydans DSM 2003 is the first strain that can be used in the direct production of acetoin from 2,3-butanediol. The product concentration and yield of the novel process are both new records for acetoin production. The results demonstrate that the method developed in this study could provide a promising process for efficient acetoin production and industrially produced 2,3-butanediol utilization.
Keywords2,3-butanediol Acetoin Gluconobacter oxydans Bioconversion
2,3-Butanediol is a platform and fuel biochemical (<US$1/kg) that can be produced by biotechnological routes. With a high heating value of 27,200 J/g, it can be used as a liquid fuel or fuel additive [1–3]. Many microorganisms including Bacillus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Saccharomyces, and Serratia have been used to efficiently produce 2,3-butanediol [4–10]. Although some efficient and economical 2,3-butanediol fermentation processes have been established in laboratory studies [11–15], it has not been produced in a large scale. The reason is because a sizable derivative process for this chemical has not yet been developed until now. Hence, the development of improved derivative processes of 2,3-butanediol would be a prerequisite for commercial utilization of industrially produced 2,3-butanediol.
Production of acetoin using 2,3-butanediol as the sole carbon source does not require the separation of biocatalysts from growth medium. It is an interesting concept, but unfortunately acetoin can be metabolized by numerous microorganisms [22–25]. A microorganism that could directly produce acetoin from 2,3-butanediol through bioconversion has never been reported. Thus, it would be desirable to find an effective microorganism for the direct production of acetoin from 2,3-butanediol.
In this study, Gluconobacter oxydans DSM 2003, an obligate aerobic Gram-negative bacterium, was confirmed to have the ability to produce acetoin from 2,3-butanediol. After optimization of reaction conditions, production of acetoin from 2,3-butanediol using G. oxydans DSM 2003 was acquired. The process presented in this study could provide a promising alternative for the value-added utilization of biotechnologically produced 2,3-butanediol from biomass.
Results and discussion
G. oxydans DSM 2003 has the capacity for acetoin production from 2,3-butanediol
G. oxydans has a respiratory metabolism characterized by incomplete oxidation of sugars, alcohols, and acids. The partially oxidized products (aldehyde, ketone, and organic acid) are rapidly excreted into the medium. This property makes G. oxydans an important biocatalyst for industrial use [26–28]. In a previous study, many substrates including glycerol, meso-erythritol, 1,3-butanediol, and 2,3-butanediol could be oxidized by the membrane-bound polyol dehydrogenase (GOX 0854 and GOX 0855) in G. oxydans 621H . Homologues of GOX 0854 and GOX 0855 were present in other G. oxydans strains, such as G. oxydans H24, G. oxydans DSM 7145, and G. oxydans IFO 3255 [30–32]. Thus, most strains of G. oxydans, such as G. oxydans DSM 2003, might have the metabolic potential to directly produce acetoin from 2,3-butanediol.
All three stereoisomers of 2,3-butanediol are utilized by G. oxydans DSM 2003
2,3-Butanediol has three stereoisomers including meso-2,3-butanediol, (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, and (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol. Different microorganisms produce different stereoisomers of 2,3-butanediol. For example, strains of Bacillus, such as Bacillus licheniformis, and Paenibacillus polymyxa produce (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol as the major product [7, 35]. Serratia marcescens produces meso-2,3-butanediol as the major product . Other strains including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Enterobacter cloacae produce meso-2,3-butanediol and (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol as the major products [4, 5, 9]. In this study, a commercial 2,3-butanediol, which contained 15.9% (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, 76.1% meso-2,3-butanediol, and 8.0% (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol, was used as the carbon source for G. oxydans DSM 2003. After the bioconversion process, the stereoisomeric composition of 2,3-butanediol was analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) with a flame ionization detector and a fused silica capillary column.
All three stereoisomers of 2,3-butanediol including meso-2,3-butanediol, (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, and (2S,3S)- 2,3-butanediol could be utilized by G. oxydans DSM 2003. Both (3S)-acetoin and (3R)-acetoin were the final products of the bioconversion process. Thus, the 2,3-butanediol produced by the reported microorganisms could be used by G. oxydans DSM 2003 for acetoin production.
G. oxydans DSM 2003 catalyzes 2,3-butanediol into acetoin with stereoselectivity
Among all of the 2,3-butanediol producing strains, 2,3-butanediol was produced by NAD-dependent 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase, catalyzing the stereoselective reduction of acetoin . Several 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenases with different stereospecificities have been previously studied. 2,3-Butanediol dehydrogenase could also catalyze the oxidation of 2,3-butanediol to produce acetoin. For example, (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase in Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Paenibacillus polymyxa can catalyze the stereospecific oxidation of (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol and meso-2,3-butanediol to (3R)-acetoin and (3S)-acetoin, respectively [36–38]. meso-2,3-Butanediol dehydrogenase in S. marcescens H30 can catalyze the stereospecific oxidation of (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol and meso-2,3-butanediol to (3S)-acetoin and (3R)-acetoin, respectively . To identify the stereoselectivity of 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase in G. oxydans DSM 2003 that catalyzes the oxidation of 2,3-butanediol, biotransformation with 2,3-butanediol as the substrate and whole cells of G. oxydans DSM 2003 as the catalyst was conducted. After accomplishing the reaction with meso-2,3-butanediol, (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, or (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol as the substrate, the mixture was centrifuged and the concentrations of (3S)-acetoin and (3R)-acetoin in the supernatant were analyzed by GC, respectively.
When (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol was used as the substrate, (3R)-acetoin was the major product detected. Accordingly, (3S)-acetoin was, as expected, the major product obtained from (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol. Furthermore, (3S)-acetoin could be obtained from meso-2,3-butanediol. On the other hand, as shown in Additional file 2: Figure S2A and Figure S2B (analyzed by HPLC), (3S)-acetoin and (3R)-acetoin could not be further transformed into diacetyl by G. oxydans DSM 2003, which is similar to the situation in most of the 2,3-butanediol producing strains.
Chiral acetoin is widely used to synthesize novel optically active α-hydroxy ketone derivatives and liquid crystal composites. Numerous biocatalytic processes for the production of chiral acetoin have been reported [40, 41]. (2R,3R)-2,3-Butanediol and meso-2,3-butanediol could be easily produced by P. polymyxa and S. marcescens, respectively [7, 11]. Due to the high stereoselectivity in the G. oxydans DSM 2003 catalyzed 2,3-butanediol oxidation, this strain might also provide a promising alternative for the production of (3S)-acetoin and (3R)-acetoin.
G. oxydans DSM 2003 constitutively expresses enzymes in 2,3-butanediol oxidation
In G. oxydans 621H, the polyol dehydrogenase (GOX 0854 and GOX 0855) exhibited 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase activity . This enzyme was reported as a membrane-bound protein and uses ubiquinone as the native electron acceptor. To identify whether G. oxydans DSM 2003 has a similar 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase activity, a whole-cell 2,6-dichlorophenolindophenol (DCPIP) assay was used . Corresponding to the result of biotransformation experiments, meso-2,3-butanediol, (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, and (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol could be oxidized by whole cells of G. oxydans DSM 2003, implying the presence of a 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase activity in the strain.
To assess the expression of 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase activity, G. oxydans DSM 2003 was cultured with different carbon sources, and the specific activities of 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenases were examined. The specific activities of the enzymes in cells grown on 2,3-butanediol were similar to those of cells grown on glucose, glycerol, and sorbitol (Additional file 3: Table S1). This result is consistent with polyol dehydrogenase in G. oxydans 621H, whose expression was also constitutive . However, to further identify whether the homologues of GOX 0854 and GOX 0855 catalyze the oxidation of 2,3-butanediol in G. oxydans DSM 2003, deletion and function analysis of the corresponding genes should be conducted in successive studies.
Optimal pH for acetoin production
To increase the efficiency of acetoin production, the bioconversion conditions of G. oxydans DSM 2003 were optimized. The effects of the pH (5.5 to 7.5) of the culture medium on growth of G. oxydans DSM 2003, 2,3-butanediol utilization, and acetoin production were investigated in 300 mL shake flasks containing 50 mL medium with approximately 10 g/L 2,3-butanediol.
Optimal temperature for acetoin production
Efficiency of the bioconversion processes is temperature-dependent owing to the strict dependence of enzymatic activity and cellular maintenance upon temperature. In this study, the effects of temperature (16°C, 25°C, 30°C, and 35°C) on cell growth, acetoin production, and 2,3-butanediol utilization were also examined.
Optimal 2,3-butanediol concentration for acetoin production
To study the effect of the initial 2,3-butanediol concentration on acetoin production, various concentrations of 2,3-butanediol were utilized by G. oxydans DSM 2003 in batch process to produce acetoin. The effects of 2,3-butanediol concentration on cell and acetoin production were examined after 24 hours of bioconversion in 300 mL shake flasks containing 10 g/L, 20 g/L, 40 g/L, 60 g/L, and 80 g/L 2,3-butanediol, respectively.
Batch bioconversion under optimum conditions
Combining the results mentioned above, an optimal system for the production of acetoin from 2,3-butanediol was developed. Bioconversion was conducted at 30°C in 300 mL shake flasks containing 50 mL medium. The medium consisted of 20 g/L yeast extract, 1.5 g/L (NH4)2SO4, 1.5 g/L KH2PO4, 0.5 g MgSO4 7H2O, and 40 g/L 2,3-butanediol. The pH was maintained at 6.0.
Efficient fed-batch bioconversion could enhance the concentrations of the target products. To achieve a higher product concentration, a fed-batch bioconversion was carried out with the optimized bioconversion conditions. The initial 2,3-butanediol concentration was 40 g/L, and 20 g/L of 2,3-butanediol was added at 12, 24, and 36 hours, respectively.
Comparison of the acetoin production using different biocatalysts and fermentative strains
Productivity (g/L · h)
Escherichia coli expressing glycerol dehydrogenase
Mixture of meso-2,3-butanediol and (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol
Escherichia coli strain coexpressed (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase and NADH oxidase
Escherichia coli expressed diacetyl reductase
Diacetyl and glucose
Purified NADPH-dependent carbonyl reductase and glucose dehydrogenase
Diacetyl and glucose
Serratia marcescens H32 expressed NADH oxidase
Klebsiella pneumoniae expressed NADH oxidase
Geobacillus strain XT15
Bacillus licheniformis MEL09
Bacillus subtilis JNA310
Bacillus subtilis moderately expressed the transcriptional regulator AlsR
Bacillus subtilis JNA-UD-6
Klebsiella oxytoca M1
Bacillus subtilis CICC10025
Gluconobacter oxydans DSM 2003
Mixture of meso-2,3-butanediol, (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, and (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol
Several biotechnological routes including enzymatic or whole-cell conversion methods [20, 21, 40, 41] and fermentative technologies [18, 19, 42–47] have been used to produce acetoin (Table 1). Among all of the reported biotechnological processes, Sun et al. obtained the highest acetoin concentration of 75.2 g/L with S. marcescens H32 with the expression of a water-forming NADH oxidase . However, there were still considerable amounts of 2,3-butanediol generated during the acetoin fermentation process. Efforts have been tried in order to increase acetoin production through further biotransformation of the 2,3-butanediol . Using 2,3-butanediol as the substrate, the recombinant E. coli strain that coexpressed (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase and NADH oxidase produced acetoin at a high concentration of 36.7 g/L . On the other hand, diacetyl could also be used as the substrate for acetoin production [40, 41]. Acetoin at a concentration of 13.5 g/L was produced from diacetyl by using an E. coli strain that expressed stereoselective diacetyl reductase .
In this study, we found that G. oxydans DSM 2003 is able to produce considerable quantities of acetoin using 2,3-butanediol as the carbon source. Both concentration and yield of acetoin produced by the novel process are new records for acetoin production. Although 2,3-butanediol could be easily produced by fermentation, its large-scale microbial production requires development of efficient derivative processes. Thus, the method presented in this study would not only provide a promising process for acetoin production, but would also expand the utilization of 2,3-butanediol produced from biomass.
An efficient process for acetoin production from 2,3-butanediol was developed by using G. oxydans DSM 2003. All three stereoisomers of 2,3-butanediol could be oxidized into acetoin by the strain. Under optimal conditions, the bioconversion process exhibited rather high concentration (89.2 g/L), productivity (1.24 g/L · h), and yield (91.2%) of acetoin. The results of this study suggest that production of acetoin using 2,3-butanediol can serve as a choice for the derivative of industrially produced 2,3-butanediol.
Materials and methods
(2R,3R)-2,3-Butanediol (98.0%), (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol (99.0%), and meso-2,3-butanediol (98.0%) were purchased from Acros (Geel, Belgium). The mixture of 2,3-butanediol (76.1% meso-2,3-butanediol, 15.9% (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, and 8.0% (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol) was obtained from Sinopharm (Beijing, China). Racemic acetoin, diacetyl, phenazine methosulfate (PMS), and DCPIP were purchased from Sigma. All other chemicals were of analytical grade and commercially available.
Microorganism and culture conditions
G. oxydans DSM 2003 (Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen (DSMZ), Braunschweig, Germany) was used in this study. The strain was cultured in a medium containing 20 g yeast extract, 1.5 g (NH4)2SO4, 1.5 g KH2PO4, and 0.5 g MgSO4 7H2O in 1 L of distilled water. This medium was supplemented with 2,3-butanediol, glucose, glycerol, or sorbitol as the carbon source. The flask experiment was conducted in 300 mL shake flasks containing 50 mL fresh medium.
Whole-cell DCPIP assay of the membrane-bound 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase
For the assay of the membrane-bound 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase, whole cells of G. oxydans DSM 2003 were concentrated to OD620nm 4.0 via centrifugation at 4,000 × g for 5 minutes. The concentrated cells were washed in 10 mL 67 mM phosphate buffer (pH 7.4), resuspended in the same buffer and then immediately used. Activity of 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase was determined at 30°C in 1 mL of 67 mM phosphate buffer, pH 7.4, 0.2 mM PMS, 0.2 mM DCPIP, and whole cells of G. oxydans DSM 2003 (final OD620nm of 0.2). The reaction was started by addition of 25 mM meso-2,3-butanediol, (2R,3R)-2,3-butanediol, or (2S,3S)-2,3-butanediol . The rate of DCPIP reduction was determined by measuring the absorbance changes at 600 nm . An extinction coefficient of 21,300 for DCPIP was used for the rate calculation. One unit of oxidation activity was defined as 1 μmol substrate oxidized per minute as determined by reduction of 1 μmol DCPIP.
Optimization of bioconversion conditions
For the optimization of bioconversion conditions, the culture medium of 50 mL in 300 mL shake flasks were used with variation as follows: the pH values were 5.5 to 7.5, temperatures were 16°C to 35°C, and 2,3-butanediol concentrations were 10 g/L to 80 g/L. Bioconversion was carried out for 12 hours and then the reaction mixture was centrifuged. The resultant supernatant was analyzed for 2,3-butanediol and acetoin by GC.
Samples were withdrawn periodically and centrifuged at 12,000 × g for 10 minutes. The growth of G. oxydans DSM 2003 was determined by monitoring the absorbance at 620 nm using a spectrophotometer (Lengguang 721, Shanghai Precision & Scientific Instrument Co Ltd, Shanghai, China) after an appropriate dilution. The concentrations of 2,3-butanediol and acetoin were analyzed by GC (Varian 3800, Varian, Walnut Creek, CA, USA) with the method described by Xiao et al. . The GC system was equipped with a 30 m SPB-5 capillary column (0.32 mm inside diameter, 0.25 μm film thickness; Supelco, Bellefonte, PA, USA) and a flame ionization detector. The injector and detector temperatures were both 280°C. The column oven temperature was maintained at 40°C for 3 minutes, and then raised to 240°C at a rate of 20°C/minute. The injection volume was 1 μL. The calibration curve was used to calculate the concentration of the products. The concentration of diacetyl was measured by HPLC (Agilent 1100 series, Hewlett-Packard, Waldbronn, Germany) equipped with an Aminex HPX-87H column (300 × 7.8 mm) (Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA, USA) and a refractive index detector . The analysis was performed with a mobile phase of 10 mM H2SO4 at a flow rate of 0.4 mL/minute and at 55°C.
Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen
High-performance liquid chromatography
This study was supported by the Chinese National Program for High Technology Research and Development (2011AA02A207, 2012AA022104) and the Program for High Technology Research and Development of Shandong province (2012GSF12119).
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