9-11: Short chain fatty acid production by the rumen bacterium Megasphaera elsdenii

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Napoleon Ballroom C-D, 3rd fl (Sheraton New Orleans)
Hans Marx, Diethard Mattanovich and Michael Sauer, Department of Biotechnology, BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria

Megasphaera elsdenii is an obligatory anaerobic gram-negative coccus and is a common member of the intestinal flora of the rumen of cattle and sheep.

This bacterium is of great biotechnological interest, because it produces a variety of useful organic acids, among them short chain fatty acids with a high potential for the chemical industry. The produced short chain fatty acids are highly toxic for most microorganisms. However, M. elsdenii shows a remarkable resistance against these compounds and readily accumulates high amounts of these acids. This organism is therefore an ideal candidate as microbial cell factory.

In order to optimize the production of the desired acids and to modify the spectrum of the accumulated acids, a deeper understanding of the metabolic pathways for the biosynthesis of short chain fatty acids by M. elsdenii is required. As a first step for the characterization of its metabolic peculiarities we recently presented the full genome sequence of this microbe. Here, we propose the metabolic mechanism of short chain fatty acid biosynthesis and approaches for modification and optimization of short chain fatty acid production.

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