Comparative Fluxome and Metabolome Analysis of Formate as an Auxiliary Substrate for Penicillin Production in Glucose-Limited Cultivation of Penicillium chrysogenum

Guan Wang, Xinxin Wang, Tong Wang, Walter van Gulik, Henk J. Noorman, Yingping Zhuang*, Ju Chu, Siliang Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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During glucose-limited growth, a substantial input of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is required for the production of β-lactams by the filamentous fungus Penicillium chrysogenum. Formate dehydrogenase has been confirmed in P. chrysogenum for formate oxidation allowing an extra supply of ATP, and coassimilation of glucose and formate has the potential to increase penicillin production and biomass yield. In this study, the steady-state metabolite levels and fluxes in response to cofeeding of formate as an auxiliary substrate in glucose-limited chemostat cultures at the dilution rates (D) of both 0.03 h−1 and 0.05 h−1 are determined to evaluate the quantitative impact on the physiology of a high-yielding P. chrysogenum strain. It is observed that an equimolar addition of formate is conducive to an increase in both biomass yield and penicillin production at D = 0.03 h−1, while this is not the case at D = 0.05 h−1. In addition, a higher cytosolic redox status (NADH/NAD+), a higher intracellular glucose level, and lower penicillin productivity are only observed upon formate addition at D = 0.05 h−1, which are virtually absent at D = 0.03 h−1. In conclusion, the results demonstrate that the effect of formate as an auxiliary substrate on penicillin productivity in the glucose-limited chemostat cultivations of P. chrysogenum is not only dependent on the formate/glucose ratio as published before but also on the specific growth rate. The results also imply that the overall process productivity and quality regarding the use of formate should be further explored in an actual industrial-scale scenario.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900009
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • auxiliary substrates
  • chemostat
  • metabolomics
  • penicillin
  • Penicillium chrysogenum

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