Screening for optimal protease producing Bacillus licheniformis strains with polymer-based controlled-release fed-batch microtiter plates
Microbial Cell Factories
Substrate-limited fed-batch conditions have the favorable effect of preventing overflow metabolism, catabolite repression, oxygen limitation or inhibition caused by elevated substrate or osmotic concentrations. Due to these favorable effects, fed-batch mode is predominantly used in industrial production processes. In contrast, screening processes are usually performed in microtiter plates operated in batch mode. This leads to a different physiological state of the production organism in early
... organism in early screening and can misguide the selection of potential production strains. To close the gap between screening and production conditions, new techniques to enable fed-batch mode in microtiter plates have been described. One of these systems is the ready-to-use and disposable polymer-based controlledrelease fed-batch microtiter plate (fed-batch MTP). In this work, the fed-batch MTP was applied to establish a glucoselimited fed-batch screening procedure for industrially relevant protease producing Bacillus licheniformis strains. Results: To achieve equal initial growth conditions for different clones with the fed-batch MTP, a two-step batch preculture procedure was developed. Based on this preculture procedure, the standard deviation of the protease activity of glucose-limited fed-batch main culture cultivations in the fed-batch MTP was ± 10%. The determination of the number of replicates revealed that a minimum of 6 parallel cultivations were necessary to identify clones with a statistically significant increased or decreased protease activity. The developed glucose-limited fed-batch screening procedure was applied to 13 industrially-relevant clones from two B. licheniformis strain lineages. It was found that 12 out of 13 clones (92%) were classified similarly as in a lab-scale fed-batch fermenter process operated under glucoselimited conditions. When the microtiter plate screening process was performed in batch mode, only 5 out of 13 clones (38%) were classified similarly as in the lab-scale fed-batch fermenter process. Conclusion: The glucose-limited fed-batch screening process outperformed the usual batch screening process in terms of the predictability of the clone performance under glucose-limited fed-batch fermenter conditions. These results highlight that the implementation of glucose-limited fed-batch conditions already in microtiter plate scale is crucial to increase the precision of identifying improved protease producing B. licheniformis strains. Hence, the fedbatch MTP represents an efficient high-throughput screening tool that aims at closing the gap between screening and production conditions.