Gluconobacter oxydans is a gram-negative bacterium belonging to the family Acetobacteraceae. G. oxydans is an obligate aerobe, having a respiratory type of metabolism using oxygen as the terminal electron acceptor. Gluconobacter strains flourish in sugary niches e.g. ripe grapes, apples, dates, garden soil, baker's soil, honeybees, fruit, cider, beer, wine. Gluconobacter strains are non-pathogenic towards man and other animals but are capable of causing bacterial rot of apples and pears accompanied by various shades of browning. Several soluble and particulate polyol dehydrogenases have been described. The organism brings about the incomplete oxidation of sugars, alcohols and acids. Incomplete oxidation leads to nearly quantitative yields of the oxidation products making G. oxydans important for industrial use. Gluconobacter strains can be used industrially to produce L-sorbose from D-sorbitol; D-gluconic acid, 5-keto- and 2-ketogluconic acids from D-glucose; and dihydroxyacetone from glycerol. It is primarily known as a ketogenic bacterium due to 2,5-diketogluconic acid formation from D-glucose. Extensive fermentation studies have been performed to characterize its direct glucose oxidation, sorbitol oxidation, and glycerol oxidation. The enzymes involved have been purified and characterized, and molecular studies have been performed to understand these processes at the molecular level. Its possible application in biosensor technology has also been worked out. Several workers have explained its basic and applied aspects. In the present paper, its different biotechnological applications, basic biochemistry and molecular biology studies are reviewed.
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