One of the emerging biopolymers that are currently under active investigation is bacterial poly (γ-glutamic acid) (γ-PGA). However, before its full industrial exploitation, a substantial increase in microbial productivity is required. γ-PGA obtained from the Bacillus subtilis laboratory strain 168 offers the advantage of a producer characterized by a well defined genetic framework and simple manipulation techniques. In this strain, the knockout of genes for the major γ-PGA degrading enzymes, pgdS and ggt, leads to a considerable improvement in polymer yield, which attains levels analogous to the top wild γ-PGA producer strains. This study highlights the convenience of using the laboratory strain of B. subtilis over wild isolates in designing strain improvement strategies aimed at increasing γ-PGA productivity.
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