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