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Abstract

Interesting challenges from metabolically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells arise from the opportunity to obtain yeast strains useful for the production of chemical(s). In this paper, we describe the accumulation of lactic acid in the culture medium of growing, engineered yeast cells expressing a mammalian lactate dehydrogenase gene (LDH-A). High and reproducible productions (20 g/L) and productivities (up to 11 g/L/h) of lactic acid have been obtained by modulating the physiological growth conditions. Since yeast cells are acid tolerant and survive at very low pH values, the production of lactate can be avoided. In perspective, the approaches described could be useful for the production of lactic acid, outflanking the problems related to the synthesis from bacteria cells. In fact, during industrial productions, there is an inhibitory effect on the metabolic activities of the growing bacteria (i. e., Lactobacillus spp.) caused by the acid produced and by the low pH value. Thus, strategies to prevent the lowering of pH are conventional operations. These processes allow the production of lactate(s) and require the purification of the acid from its salt. The biotechnological implications of this study are also discussed.