• Pichia pastoris;
  • streptadivin;
  • heterologous protein expression;
  • recycling of biomass;
  • aeration


Streptavidin is widely used as an analytical tool and affinity tag together with biotinylated surfaces or molecules. We report for the first time a simple strategy that yields high biomass of a Pichia pastoris strain containing a methanol induced core streptavidin (cStp) gene. Three factors were evaluated for biomass production: glycerol concentration, aeration, and feed flow rates in a bioreactor. Recycling of recombinant cells, either free or immobilized, was investigated during induction. Concentration of 2.0 M glycerol, feeding flow rate of 0.11 mL min−1, and aeration by air injection dispersed with a porous stone combined with agitation at 500 rpm were the set of conditions resulting into maximum biomass yield (150 g L−1). These parameters yielded 4.0 g L−1 of cStp, after 96 h of induction. Recombinant biomass was recycled twice before being discarded, which can reduce production costs and simplify the process. Immobilized P. pastoris biomass produced 2.94 and 1.70 g L−1 of cStp in the first and second induction cycle, respectively. Immobilization and recycling of recombinant P. pastoris biomass opens new possibilities as a potential strategy to improve volumetric productivity for heterologous protein expression. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2012