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Cyanobacteria are a promising source for the sustainable production of biodegradable bioplastics such as poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB). The auto-phototrophic biomass formation is based on light and CO2, which is an advantage compared to heterotrophic PHB-producing systems. So far, only a handful of cyanobacterial species suitable for the high-yield synthesis of PHB have been reported. In the present study, the PHB formation, biomass, and elemental composition of Leptolyngbya sp. NIVA-CYA 255 were investigated. Therefore, a three-stage cultivation process was applied, consisting of a growth stage; an N-, P-, and NP-depleted phototrophic stage; and a subsequent mixotrophic deficiency stage, initiated by sodium acetate supplementation. The extracted cyanobacterial PHB was confirmed by FTIR- and GC-MS analyses. Furthermore, the fluorescent dyes LipidGreen2 and Nile red were used for fluorescence-based monitoring and the visualization of PHB. LipidGreen2 was well suited for PHB quantification, while the application of Nile red was limited by fluorescence emission crosstalk with phycocyanin. The highest PHB yields were detected in NP- (325 mg g-1) and N-deficiency (213 mg g-1). The glycogen pool was reduced in all cultures during mixotrophy, while lipid composition was not affected. The highest glycogen yield was formed under N-deficiency (217 mg g-1). Due to the high carbon storage capacity and PHB formation, Leptolyngbya sp. NIVA-CYA 255 is a promising candidate for PHB production. Further work will focus on upscaling to a technical scale and monitoring the formation by LipidGreen2-based fluorometry.


Alexander Kettner, Matthias Noll, Carola Griehl. Leptolyngbya sp. NIVA-CYA 255, a Promising Candidate for Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) Production under Mixotrophic Deficiency Conditions. Biomolecules. 2022 Mar 26;12(4)

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PMID: 35454093

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