Stress induced biofilm formation in Propionibacterium acidipropionici and use in propionic acid production

Victor Hugo Cavero-Olguin, Rajni Hatti-Kaul, Oscar Victor Cardenas-Alegria, Marcelo Gutierrez-Valverde, Adalid Alfaro-Flores, Danitza Xiomara Romero-Calle, Maria Teresa Alvarez-Aliaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Propionibacterium acidipropionici produces propionic acid from different sugars and glycerol; the production can be improved by high cell density fermentations using immobilized cells that help to overcome the limitations of the non-productive lag phase and product inhibition. In this study, the use of stress factors to induce P. acidipropionici to form biofilm and its use as an immobilization procedure in fermentations in bioreactors for producing propionic acid was investigated. Citric acid and sodium chloride increased exopolysaccharide production, biofilm forming capacity index and trehalose production. Analysis of the expression of trehalose synthesis-related genes otsA and treY by RT-qPCR showed significantly increased expression of only treY during log phase with citric acid, while FISH analysis showed expression of treY and luxS under the influence of both stress factors. The stress factors were then used for development of microbial biofilms as immobilization procedure on Poraver® and AnoxKaldnes® carriers in recycle batch reactors for propionic acid production from 20 g/L glycerol. Highest productivities of 0.7 and 0.78 g/L/h were obtained in Poraver® reactors, and 0.39 and 0.43 g/L/h in AnoxKaldnes® reactors with citric acid and NaCl, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101
JournalWorld Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This study was funded by the financial support of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) for the Sweden-Bolivia Cooperation, and of Sweden´s Innovation Agency (VINNOVA) for BioVinn project (2008–00849) are gratefully acknowledged. The authors are grateful to LABOGEN laboratories in La Paz, Bolivia for the use of its instrumentation in molecular analyses.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature B.V.


  • Biofilm
  • Immobilization
  • Propionic acid
  • Stress factor
  • Trehalose


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