Engineering Parageobacillus thermoglucosidans as a robust platform for bioethanol production
van Zyl, Leonardo Joaquim
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Parageobacillus thermoglucosidans is a promising “platform” organism to use in the production ofa range of useful metabolites with demonstrated ability to produce ethanol, isobutanol and polylactic acid for bio-degradable plastics. Extensive work has been done in engineering the organism for enhanced ethanol production. However, an often used and highly effective alternative pathway (pyruvate decarboxylase mediated) for ethanol production has not yet been demonstrated in P. thermoglucosidans. We first characterize two novel bacterial pyruvate decarboxylase enzymes (PDC’s) then attempt to express the more thermostable of these enzymes from Gluconobacter oxydans in P. thermoglucosidans to improve ethanol yields. Initial expression was unsuccessful. Analysis of the codon usage pattern for the gene revealed that the codon usage was suboptimal in the heterologous host P. thermoglucosidans. After codon harmonization, we could demonstrate successful expression of the enzyme at 45°C, however not at the bacterium’s optimum growth temperature of 60°C. This was concomitant with enhanced ethanol production close to the theoretical yield possible (0.5g/l).