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Metabolic Energy-Based Modelling Explains Product Yielding in Anaerobic Mixed Culture Fermentations

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rebeca Gonzalez-Cabaleiro



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The fermentation of glucose using microbial mixed cultures is of great interest given itspotential to convert wastes into valuable products at low cost, however, the difficulties asso-ciated with the control of the process still pose important challenges for its industrial imple-mentation. A deeper understanding of the fermentation process involving metabolic andbiochemical principles is very necessary to overcome these difficulties. In this work a novelmetabolic energy based model is presented that accurately predicts for the first time the ex-perimentally observed changes in product spectrum with pH. The model predicts the ob-served shift towards formate production at high pH, accompanied with ethanol and acetateproduction. Acetate (accompanied with a more reduced product) and butyrate are predictedmain products at low pH. The production of propionate between pH 6 and 8 is also pre-dicted. These results are mechanistically explained for the first time considering the impactthat variable proton motive potential and active transport energy costs have in terms of en-ergy harvest over different products yielding. The model results, in line with numerousreported experiments, validate the mechanistic and bioenergetics hypotheses that fermen-tative mixed cultures products yielding appears to be controlled by the principle of maximumenergy harvest and the necessity of balancing the redox equivalents in absence of externalelectron acceptors.10.1371/journal.pone.0126739

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gonzalez-Cabaleiro R, Lema JM, Rodriguez J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS ONE

Year: 2015

Volume: 10

Issue: 5

Online publication date: 18/05/2015

Acceptance date: 07/04/2015

Date deposited: 29/10/2015

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126739

PubMed id: 25992959


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