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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Fermentation of glycerol to 1,3-propanediol and 2,3-butanediol by Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Klebsiella pneumoniae was shown to convert glycerol to 1,3-propanediol, 2,3-butanediol and ethanol under conditions of uncontrolled pH. Formation of 2,3-butanediol starts with some hours' delay and is accompanied by a reuse of the acetate that was formed in the first period. The fermentation was demonstrated in the type strain of K. pneumoniae, but growth was better with the more acid-tolerant strain GT1, which was isolated from nature. In continuous cultures in which the pH was lowered stepwise from 7.3 to 5.4, 2,3-butanediol formation started at pH 6.6 and reached a maximum yield at pH 5.5, whereas formation of acetate and ethanol declined in this p range 2,3-Butanediol and acetoin were also found among the products in chemostat cultures grown at pH 7 under conditions of glycerol excess but only with low yields. At any of the pH values tested, excess glycerol in the culture enhanced the butanediol yield. Both effects are seen as a consequence of product inhibition, the undissociated acid being a stronger trigger than the less toxic diols and acid anions. The possibilities for using the fermentation type described to produce 1,3-propanediol and 2,3-butanediol almost without by-products are discussed.[1]


  1. Fermentation of glycerol to 1,3-propanediol and 2,3-butanediol by Klebsiella pneumoniae. Biebl, H., Zeng, A.P., Menzel, K., Deckwer, W.D. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. (1998) [Pubmed]
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