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Cell factories converting lactate and acetate to butyrate: Clostridium butyricum and microbial communities from dark fermentation bioreactors

Detman, Anna and Mielecki, Damian and Chojnacka, Aleksandra and Salamon, Agnieszka and Błaszczyk, Mieczysław and Sikora, Anna (2019) Cell factories converting lactate and acetate to butyrate: Clostridium butyricum and microbial communities from dark fermentation bioreactors. Microbial Cell Factories, 18 (36). ISSN 1475-2859

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Abstract

Background: Interactions between microorganisms during specific steps of anaerobic digestion determine metabolic pathways in bioreactors and consequently the efficiency of fermentation processes. This study focuses on conversion of lactate and acetate to butyrate by bacteria of dark fermentation. The recently recognized flavin-based electron bifurcation as a mode of energy coupling by anaerobes increases our knowledge of anaerobic lactate oxidation and butyrate formation. Results: Microbial communities from dark fermentation bioreactors or pure culture of Clostridium butyricum are able to convert lactate and acetate to butyrate in batch experiments. The ability of C. butyricum to transform lactate and acetate to butyrate was shown for the first time, with ethanol identified as an additional end product of this process. A search for genes encoding EtfAB complexes and their gene neighbourhood in C. butyricum and other bacteria capable of lactate and acetate conversion to butyrate as well as butyrate-producers only and the lactate oxidiser Acetobacterium woodii, revealed that the Etf complexes involved in (i) lactate oxidation and (ii) butyrate synthesis, form separate clusters. There is a more extent similarity between Etf subunits that are involved in lactate oxidation in various species (e.g. A. woodii and C. butyricum) than between the different etf gene products within the same species of butyrate producers. A scheme for the metabolic pathway of lactate and acetate transformation to butyrate in C. butyricum was constructed. Conclusions: Studies on the conversion of lactate and acetate to butyrate by microbial communities from dark fermentation bioreactors or Clostridium butyricum suggest that a phenomenon analogous to cross-feeding of lactate in gastrointestinal tract also occurs in hydrogen-yielding reactors. A scheme of lactate and acetate transformation pathway is proposed, based on the example of C. butyricum, which employs flavin-based electron bifurcation. This process utilizes electron-transferring flavoprotein (Etf) complexes specific for (i) lactate oxidation and (ii) butyrate formation. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that such complexes are encoded in the genomes of other bacteria capable of lactate and acetate conversion to butyrate. These findings contribute significantly to our understanding of the metabolic pathways and symbiotic interactions between bacteria during the acidogenic step of anaerobic digestion.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Q Science > QR Microbiology
Divisions:Department of Molecular Biology
ID Code:1684
Deposited By: Dr Anna Sikora
Deposited On:15 Feb 2019 12:21
Last Modified:15 Feb 2019 12:21

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