Coupled effects of methane monooxygenase and nitrogen source on growth and poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) production of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b

Tingting Zhang , Jiti Zhou , Xiaowei Wang , Yu Zhang


Received October 21, 2015,Revised March 03, 2016, Accepted March 07, 2016, Available online March 20, 2016

Volume 29,2017,Pages 49-57

The coupled effects of nitrogen source and methane monooxygenase (MMO) on the growth and poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) accumulation capacity of methanotrophs were explored. The ammonia-supplied methanotrophs expressing soluble MMO (sMMO) grew at the highest rate, while N2-fixing bacteria expressing particulate MMO (pMMO) grew at the lowest rate. Further study showed that more hydroxylamine and nitrite was formed by ammonia-supplied bacteria containing pMMO, which might cause their slightly lower growth rate. The highest PHB content (51.0%) was obtained under nitrogen-limiting conditions with the inoculation of nitrate-supplied bacteria containing pMMO. Ammonia-supplied bacteria also accumulated a higher content of PHB (45.2%) with the expression of pMMO, while N2-fixing bacteria containing pMMO only showed low PHB production capacity (32.1%). The maximal PHB contents of bacteria expressing sMMO were low, with no significant change under different nitrogen source conditions. The low MMO activity, low cell growth rate and low PHB production capacity of methanotrophs continuously cultivated with N2 with the expression of pMMO were greatly improved in the cyclic NO3 N2 cultivation regime, indicating that long-term deficiency of nitrogen sources was detrimental to the activity of methanotrophs expressing pMMO.

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