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Investigation of sugar metabolism in rhizopus oryzae

Büyükkileci, Ali Oğuz
Rhizopus oryzae is a filamentous fungus, which can produce high amounts of L(+)-lactic acid and produces ethanol as the main by-product. In an effort to understand the pyruvate branch point of this organism, fermentations under different inoculum and glucose concentrations were carried out. At low inoculum size (1x103 spores ml-1), high amount of lactate (78 g l-1) was produced, whereas high ethanol concentration (37 g l-1) was obtained at high inoculum sizes (1x106 spores ml-1). Decreasing working volume increased lactate production significantly at high inoculum sizes (1x105 and 1x106 spores ml-1), but did not influenced the physiology at low inoculum sizes (1x103 and 1x104 spores ml-1). In shake flask cultures, at low initial glucose concentrations biomass yield was high and lactate and ethanol yields were low. Higher lactate and ethanol and lower biomass yields were obtained by increasing the initial glucose concentrations. In alginate immobilized, semi-continuous cultures with cell retention, glucose level in the medium was kept at low values. Like in shake flask cultures, as the glucose concentration decreased lactate and ethanol yields decreased and biomass yields increased. Increasing the glucose concentration by a pulse of glucose caused increases in branch point enzyme activities, as well as in concentrations of the metabolites. In fed batch cultures higher biomass yield (0.25 g DCW g glucose-1) could be obtained. Lactate dehydrogenase was influenced by the inoculum size and glucose concentration more than pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase. It showed higher activity at lactate producing fermentations. Unlike lactate dehydrogenase, pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase showed high activity even at low glucose concentrations.