Adipic acid tolerance screening for potential adipic acid production hosts
Journal article, 2017
Biobased processes for the production of adipic acid are of great interest to replace the current environmentally detrimental petrochemical production route. No efficient natural producer of adipic acid has yet been identified, but several approaches for pathway engineering have been established. Research has demonstrated that the microbial production of adipic acid is possible, but the yields and titres achieved so far are inadequate for commercialisation. A plausible explanation may be intolerance to adipic acid. Therefore, in this study, selected microorganisms, including yeasts, filamentous fungi and bacteria, typically used in microbial cell factories were considered to evaluate their tolerance to adipic acid. Results: Screening of yeasts and bacteria for tolerance to adipic acid was performed in microtitre plates, and in agar plates for A. niger in the presence of adipic acid over a broad range of concentration (0-684 mM). As the different dissociation state(s) of adipic acid may influence cells differently, cultivations were performed with at least two pH values. Yeasts and A. niger were found to tolerate substantially higher concentrations of adipic acid than bacteria, and were less affected by the undissociated form of adipic acid than bacteria. The yeast exhibiting the highest tolerance to adipic acid was Candida viswanathii, showing a reduction in maximum specific growth rate of no more than 10-15% at the highest concentration of adipic acid tested and the tolerance was not dependent on the dissociation state of the adipic acid. Conclusions: Tolerance to adipic acid was found to be substantially higher among yeasts and A. niger than bacteria. The explanation of the differences in adipic acid tolerance between the microorganisms investigated are likely related to fundamental differences in their physiology and metabolism. Among the yeasts investigated, C. viswanathii showed the highest tolerance and could be a potential host for a future microbial cell factory for adipic acid.