Journal of microbiology and biotechnology

Potential application of the recombinant Escherichia coli-synthesized heme as a bioavailable iron source.

PMID 19597319


To investigate the potential use of microbial heme as an iron source, recombinant Escherichia coli coexpressing ALA synthase (HemA) as well as the NADP-dependent malic enzyme (MaeB) and dicarboxylic acid transporter (DctA) were cultured. The typical red pigment extracted from the recombinant E. coli after 38 h showed highest absorbance at 407 nm, and the amount of iron in 38.4 mg of microbial heme extract derived from 6-l fermentation broth was 4.1 mg. To determine the commercial potential of the recombinant E.coli-synthesized iron-associated heme as an iron source, mice were fed the iron-free provender with the microbial heme extract. The average body weight reduction of mice fed non-iron provender was 2.3%, whereas no detectable weight loss was evident in mice fed microbial heme addition after 15 days. The heme content of the blood from microbial heme fed mice was 4.2 mg/ml whereas that of controls was 2.4 mg/ml, which implies that the microbial heme could be available for use as an animal iron source.