1887

Abstract

Aerobic anoxygenic photosynthesis (AAP) is found in an increasing number of proteobacterial strains thriving in ecosystems ranging from extremely oligotrophic to eutrophic. Here, we have investigated whether the fuel oxygenate-degrading betaproteobacterium L108 can use AAP to compensate kinetic limitations at low heterotrophic substrate fluxes. In a fermenter experiment with complete biomass retention and also during chemostat cultivation, strain L108 was challenged with extremely low substrate feeding rates of -butyl alcohol (TBA), an intermediate of methyl -butyl ether (MTBE). Interestingly, formation of photosynthetic pigments, identified as bacteriochlorophyll and spirilloxanthin, was only induced in growing cells at TBA feeding rates less than or equal to maintenance requirements observed under energy excess conditions. Growth continued at rates between 0.001 and 0.002 h even when the TBA feed was decreased to values close to 30 % of this maintenance rate. Partial sequencing of genomic DNA of strain L108 revealed a bacteriochlorophyll synthesis gene cluster () and photosynthesis regulator genes ( and ) typically found in AAP and other photosynthetic proteobacteria. The usage of light as auxiliary energy source enabling evolution of efficient degradation pathways for kinetically limited heterotrophic substrates and for lowering the threshold substrate concentration at which growth becomes zero is discussed.

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2013-10-01
2022-01-21
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