A synthetic, light-driven consortium of cyanobacteria and heterotrophic bacteria enables stable polyhydroxybutyrate production

Taylor L. Weiss, Eric J. Young, Daniel C. Ducat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

We previously reported that Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, engineered with the sucrose transporter CscB, can export up to 85% of its photosynthetically-fixed carbon as sucrose and shows considerable promise as an alternative carbohydrate source. One approach to effectively utilize this cyanobacterium is to generate synthetic, light-driven consortia in which sucrose-metabolizing heterotrophs catalyze the conversion of the low-value carbohydrate into higher-value compounds in co-culture. Here, we report an improved synthetic photoautotroph/chemoheterotroph consortial design in which sucrose secreted by S. elongatus CscB directly supports the bacterium Halomonas boliviensis, a natural producer of the bioplastic precursor, PHB. We show that alginate encapsulation of S. elongatus CscB enhances sucrose-export rates ~2-fold within 66 h, to ~290 mg sucrose L−1 d−1 OD750−1 and enhances the co-culture stability. Consortial H. boliviensis accumulate up to 31% of their dry-weight as PHB, reaching productivities up to 28.3 mg PHB L−1 d−1. This light-driven, alginate-partitioned co-culture platform achieves PHB productivities that match or exceed those of traditionally engineered cyanobacterial monocultures. Importantly, S. elongatus CscB/H. boliviensis co-cultures were continuously productive for over 5 months and resisted invasive microbial species without the application of antibiotics or other chemical selection agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-245
Number of pages10
JournalMetabolic Engineering
Volume44
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bioplastic
  • Co-culture
  • Halomonas boliviensis
  • Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942
  • Synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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