Industrial microbiology offers the potential of replacing current petroleum based chemical feedstocks with chemicals made from renewable resources using fermentation. However, the maximum yields of fermentation products can be limited by the available redox power in the microbial cell. This problem can be overcome by microbial electrosynthesis. In this new scientific field, redox power is provided to the cells in the form of electricity, while cheap and highly oxicised substrates are converted to product. Microbial electrosynthesis is a very promising new approach, but fundamental understanding of the electron transfer to the microbial cells and the optimization thereof is necessary. We propose to address this issue for the industrial microbe Pseudomonas putida during the production of shikimate derived aromatic compounds (e.g. para-hydroxybenzoic acid, cis-cis muconic acid) from waste acetate. We will explore the underlaying mechanisms using systems biology, optimize the microbe via metabolic engineering and develop a scalable bioprocess based on reaction engineering analyses and design of electrochemical bioreactor system configurations.
Hintermayer, Sarah; Yu, Shiqin; Krömer, Jens O., Weuster-Botz, Dirk (2016) Anodic respiration of Pseudomonas putida KT2440 in a stirred-tank bioreactor, Biochemical Engineering Journal, doi: 10.1016/j.bej.2016.07.020
Hintermayer, Sarah, Weuster-Botz, Dirk (2017) Experimental validation of in silico estimated biomass yields of Pseudomonas putida KT2440, Biotechnol. J. doi: 10.1002/biot.201600720