• Pichia pastoris;
  • beta-propeller phytase;
  • Simplex optimization method;
  • physiological response

Recently, we engineered Pichia pastoris Muts strains to produce several beta-propeller phytases, one from Bacillus subtilis and the others designed by a structure-guided consensus approach. Furthermore, we demonstrated the ability of P. pastoris to produce and secrete these phytases in an active form in shake-flask cultures. In the present work, we used a design of experiments strategy (Simplex optimization method) to optimize five environmental factors that define the culture conditions in the induction step to increase beta-propeller phytase production in P. pastoris bioreactor cultures. With the optimization process, up to 347,682 U (82,814 U/L or 6.4 g/L culture medium) of phytase at 68 h of induction was achieved. In addition, the impact of the optimization process on the physiological response of the host was evaluated. The results indicate that the increase in extracellular phytase production through the optimization process was correlated with an increase in metabolic activity of P. pastoris, shown by an increase in oxygen demand and methanol consumption, that increase the specific growth rate. The increase in extracellular phytase production also occurred with a decrease in extracellular protease activity. Moreover, the optimized culture conditions increased the recombinant protein secretion by up to 88%, along with the extracellular phytase production efficiency per cell. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 29:1377–1385, 2013