World journal of microbiology & biotechnology

Rapid and qualitative fluorescence-based method for the assessment of PHA production in marine bacteria during batch culture.

PMID 26187125


The expansion of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) into the biodegradable polymers market is mainly prevented by their production process which is still complicated with a low efficiency, resulting in relatively expensive products. In this study, we developed a method that used the lipophilic fluorescent probe Nile Red (1 mg l(-1) solution in DMSO) directly into the culture broth to stain the PHA inclusions inside bacterial cells followed by detection of the emitted fluorescence by both microscopic and spectrometric techniques. Epifluorescence microscopy provides a rapid tool to distinguish producing from non-producing bacterial species and the relative fluorescence intensity (FI) determined at the maximum of emission spectra in the wavelength region of 560-710 nm (λ(ex): 543 nm), allows a fast assessment of the cultural conditions that may enhance PHA production yield. During two-step cultivation in 500-ml flasks with glucose as the sole carbon source, the method aimed to select bacterial strains efficient for PHA synthesis among a marine collection. Subsequently, the NR assay was used to determine the C0/N0 ratio of the producing media that may improve the polymer yield as well as to follow the time course of fermentation. Characterization by GC-MS and DSC confirmed the production of the P(3-HB) homopolymer.