The Journal of eukaryotic microbiology

Variability of wax ester fermentation in natural and bleached Euglena gracilis Strains in response to oxygen and the elongase inhibitor flufenacet.

PMID 20015184


Euglena gracilis is able to synthesize adenosine triphosphate under anaerobic conditions through a malonyl-independent fatty acid synthesis leading to wax ester fermentation. Mitochondrial fatty acid synthesis uses acetyl-CoA and propionyl-CoA as C2- and C3-donors for de novo synthesis of even- and odd-numbered fatty acids, respectively. Euglena's wax ester fermentation has only been described in the E. gracilis strain 1224-5/25 Z. Here we investigate eight E. gracilis strains isolated in 1932-1958 from different localities in Europe and two bleached substrains of E. gracilis 1224-5/25, obtained by treatment with streptomycin and ofloxacin, and examine their anaerobic growth, wax ester fermentation, and wax ester composition. Under ambient oxygen levels, all strains accumulated wax esters in concentrations between 0.3% and 3.5% of the dry weight, but the strains revealed marked differences in wax ester accumulation with respect to anaerobic growth. Most fermenting strains tested showed increased wax ester synthesis under anaerobic conditions as well as the increased synthesis of odd-numbered fatty acids and alcohols suggesting an activation of the mitochondrial fatty acid biosynthesis pathway. Addition of the elongase inhibitor flufenacet to the growth medium specifically reduced the accumulation of odd-numbered fatty acids and alcohols and tended to increase the overall yield of anaerobic wax esters.

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Flufenacet, PESTANAL®, analytical standard