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Abstract

An industrial erythromycin production strain of Saccharopolyspora erythraea spp. was used to demonstrate that careful genetic engineering can significantly improve productivity. The chromosomally integrated Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene (vhb) was shown to enhance the final titer of erythromycin by some 70% compared to the original S.erythraea spp. Overall, specific erythromycin yields were about 2.5 g of erythromycin/g of total protein for S. erythraea::vhb but <1 for the S. erythraea spp. The maximum rates of biosynthesis were 57.5 mg of erythromycin/(L/h) and 24.3 mg/(L/h) for the recombinant strain S. erythraea::vhb and S. erythraea spp., respectively. Overall space−time yield was 100% higher for the S. erythraea::vhb fermentation (1.1 g of erythromycin/(L/day)) than for the S. erythraea spp. fermentation (0.56 g of erythromycin/(L/day)). The genetic stability of the recombinant strain was high, and no selective pressure was needed throughout the cultivations. Expression of functional Vitreoscilla hemoglobin throughout the cultivations was verified by CO difference spectrum assays.