Alginate synthesis in Azotobacter vinelandii is increased by reducing the intracellular production of ubiquinone
Azotobacter vinelandii produces two polymers of industrial importance, i.e. alginate and poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB). Alginate synthesis constitutes a waste of substrate when seeking to optimize PHB production and, conversely, synthesis of PHB is undesirable when optimizing alginate production. In this study we evaluated the effect of a mutation in algA, the gene encoding the enzyme that catalyzes the first step of the alginate biosynthetic pathway in the production of PHB. We also evaluated production of alginate in strain AT6 carrying a phbB mutation that impairs PHB synthesis. The algA mutation prevented alginate production and increased PHB accumulation up to 5-fold, determined in milligrams per milligram of protein. Similarly, the phbB mutation increased alginate production up to 4-fold.