Ability to ferment in the presence of oxygen increases the robustness of bioprocesses and opens opportunity for novel industrial setups. The ethanologenic bacterium Zymomonas mobilis performs rapid and efficient anaerobic ethanol fermentation, yet its respiratory NADH dehydrogenase (Ndh)-deficient strain (ndh-) is known to produce ethanol with high yield also under oxic conditions. Compared to the wild type, it has a lower rate of oxygen consumption, and an increased expression of the respiratory lactate dehydrogenase (Ldh). Here we present a quantitative study of the product spectrum and carbon balance for aerobically growing ndh-. Ldh-deficient and Ldh-overexpressing ndh- strains were constructed and used to examine the putative role of the respiratory lactate bypass for aerobic growth and production. We show that aerobically growing ndh- strains perform fermentative metabolism with a near-maximum ethanol yield, irrespective of their Ldh expression background. Yet, Ldh activity strongly affects the aerobic product spectrum in glucose-consuming non-growing cells. Also, Ldh-deficiency hampers growth at elevated temperature (42 °C) and delays the restart of growth after 10–15 h of aerobic starvation.
Strazdina, I., Balodite, E., Lasa, Z., Rutkis, R., Galinina, N., & Kalnenieks, U. (2018). Aerobic catabolism and respiratory lactate bypass in Ndh-negative Zymomonas mobilis. Metabolic Engineering Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mec.2018.e00081