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    Heterogeneous oxygen availability affects the titer and topology but not the fidelity of plasmid DNA produced by Escherichia coli.
    BMC Biotechnol 2017 Jul 4;17(1):60. Epub 2017 Jul 4.
    Departamento de Procesos y Tecnología, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa, Av. Vasco de Quiroga 4871, Col. Santa Fe, 05348, Mexico City, Mexico.
    Background: Dissolved oxygen tension (DOT) is hardly constant and homogenously distributed in a bioreactor, which can have a negative impact in the metabolism and product synthesis. However, the effects of DOT on plasmid DNA (pDNA) production and quality have not been thoroughly investigated. In the present study, the effects of aerobic (DOT ≥30% air sat.), microaerobic (constant DOT = 3% air sat.) and oscillatory DOT (from 0 to 100% air sat.) conditions on pDNA production, quality and host performance were characterized.

    Results: Microaerobic conditions had little effect on pDNA production, supercoiled fraction and sequence fidelity. By contrast, oscillatory DOT caused a 22% decrease in pDNA production compared with aerobic cultures. Although in aerobic cultures the pDNA supercoiled fraction was 98%, it decreased to 80% under heterogeneous DOT conditions. The different oxygen availabilities had no effect on the fidelity of the produced pDNA. The estimated metabolic fluxes indicated substantial differences at the level of the pentose phosphate pathway and TCA cycle under different conditions. Cyclic changes in fermentative pathway fluxes, as well as fast shifts in the fluxes through cytochromes, were also estimated. Model-based genetic modifications that can potentially improve the process performance are suggested.

    Conclusions: DOT heterogeneities strongly affected cell performance, pDNA production and topology. This should be considered when operating or scaling-up a bioreactor with deficient mixing. Constant microaerobic conditions affected the bacterial metabolism but not the amount or quality of pDNA. Therefore, pDNA production in microaerobic cultures may be an alternative for bioreactor operation at higher oxygen transfer rates.

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