Paraffin oil as a “methane vector” for rapid and high cell density cultivation of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b

Bing Han, Tao Su, Hao Wu, Zhongxuan Gou, Xin-Hui Xing, Hao Jiang, Yin Chen, Xin Li, J. Colin Murrell

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Abstract

Slow growth and relatively low cell densities of methanotrophs have limited their uses in industrial applications. In this study, a novel method for rapid cultivation of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b was studied by adding a water-immiscible organic solvent in the medium. Paraffin oil was the most effective at enhancing cell growth and final cell density. This is at least partially due to the increase of methane gas transfer between gas and medium phases since methane solubility is higher in paraffin than in water/nitrate minimal salt medium. During cultivation with paraffin oil at 5% (v/v) in the medium, M. trichosporium OB3b cells also showed higher concentrations of the intermediary metabolites, such as formic acid and pyruvic acid, and consumed more methane compared with the control. Paraffin as methane vector to improve methanotroph growth was further studied in a 5-L fermentor at three concentrations (i.e., 2.5%, 5%, and 10%). Cell density reached about 14 g dry weight per liter with 5% paraffin, around seven times higher than that of the control (without paraffin). Cells cultivated with paraffin tended to accumulate around the interface between oil droplets and the water phase and could exist in oil phase in the case of 10% (v/v) paraffin. These results indicated that paraffin could enhance methanotroph growth, which is potentially useful in cultivation of methanotrophs in large scale in industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-677
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Volume83
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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