Dynamic response of Aspergillus niger to periodical glucose pulse stimuli in chemostat cultures

Peng Liu, Shuai Wang, Chao Li, Yingping Zhuang, Jianye Xia*, Henk Noorman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In industrial large-scale bioreactors, microorganisms encounter heterogeneous substrate concentration conditions, which can impact growth or product formation. Here we carried out an extended (12 h) experiment of repeated glucose pulsing with a 10-min period to simulate fluctuating glucose concentrations with Aspergillus niger producing glucoamylase, and investigated its dynamic response by rapid sampling and quantitative metabolomics. The 10-min period represents worst-case conditions, as in industrial bioreactors the average cycling duration is usually in the order of 1 min. We found that cell growth and the glucoamylase productivity were not significantly affected, despite striking metabolomic dynamics. Periodical dynamic responses were found across all central carbon metabolism pathways, with different time scales, and the frequently reported ATP paradox was confirmed for this A. niger strain under the dynamic conditions. A thermodynamics analysis revealed that several reactions of the central carbon metabolism remained in equilibrium even under periodical dynamic conditions. The dynamic response profiles of the intracellular metabolites did not change during the pulse exposure, showing no significant adaptation of the strain to the more than 60 perturbation cycles applied. The apparent high tolerance of the glucoamylase producing A. niger strain for extreme variations in the glucose availability presents valuable information for the design of robust industrial microbial hosts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2265-2282
Number of pages18
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Aspergillus niger
  • central carbon metabolism
  • dynamic response
  • periodically repeating glucose pulse
  • substrate fluctuation


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