SUMMARY: A strain of produced clavine alkaloid (principally agroclavine) in yields of 4 mg/ml within 6 days when grown in a sucrose-ammonium sulphate-inorganic salts medium in 400 1 stirred fermenters. Alkaloid accumulated rapidly during the growth phase, most of the synthesis coinciding with a mycelial growth form consisting of plectenchymatic hyphae, the cells of which resembled the constituent cells of naturally occurring sclerotia. The broth was rendered low in glucan by the activity of a β-glucanase and this, together with increased fermenter shaft speed, ensured that oxygen supply was not limiting throughout the fermentation. Alkaloid was extracted efficiently from the glucanfree culture filtrate by a solvent extraction procedure involving sequential transfer of the product into -butanol, aqueous tartaric acid and chloroform, followed by crystallization from acetone. Improved alkaloid yield (6 mg/ml) was obtained by using a modified medium containing increased concentrations of magnesium sulphate, zinc sulphate and potassium dihydrogen orthophosphate, in a 400 1 multi-stage fermentation.


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