Enrichment and application of extracellular nonulosonic acids containing polymers of Accumulibacter

Sergio Tomás-Martínez*, Le Min Chen, Martin Pabst, David G. Weissbrodt, Mark C.M. van Loosdrecht, Yuemei Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract: Pseudaminic and legionaminic acids are a subgroup of nonulosonic acids (NulOs) unique to bacterial species. There is a lack of advances in the study of these NulOs due to their complex synthesis and production. Recently, it was seen that “Candidatus Accumulibacter” can produce Pse or Leg analogues as part of its extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). In order to employ a “Ca. Accumulibacter” enrichment as production platform for bacterial sialic acids, it is necessary to determine which fractions of the EPS of “Ca. Accumulibacter” contain NulOs and how to enrich and/or isolate them. We extracted the EPS from granules enriched with “Ca. Accumulibcater” and used size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) to separate them into different molecular weight (MW) fractions. This separation resulted in two high molecular weight (> 5500 kDa) fractions dominated by polysaccharides, with a NulO content up to 4 times higher than the extracted EPS. This suggests that NulOs in “Ca. Accumulibacter” are likely located in high molecular weight polysaccharides. Additionally, it was seen that the extracted EPS and the NulO-rich fractions can bind and neutralize histones. This opens the possibility of EPS and NulO-rich fractions as potential source for sepsis treatment drugs. Key points: • NulOs in “Ca. Accumulibacter” are likely located in high MW polysaccharides • SEC allows to obtain high MW polysaccharide-rich fractions enriched with NulOs • EPS and the NulOs-rich fractions are a potential source for sepsis treatment drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-941
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Fractionation
  • Granules
  • Histone binding
  • Nonulosonic acids
  • Size-exclusion chromatography


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