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Keywords:

  • Alcohol shift;
  • Clostridium acetobutylicum;
  • Ferredoxin NAD oxidoreductase;
  • Hydrogenase;
  • NADH;
  • Neutral red;
  • Pyruvate ferredoxin oxidoreductase

Abstract: The metabolism of Clostridium acetobutylicum was manipulated, at neutral pH and in chemostat culture, by the addition of Neutral red, a molecule that can replace ferredoxin in the oxido-reduction reactions catalysed by the enzymes involved in the distribution of the electron flow. Cultures grown on glucose alone produced mainly acids while cultures grown on glucose plus Neutral red produced mainly alcohols and butyrate and low levels of hydrogen. We demonstrated that just after addition of Neutral red to an acidogenic culture, the simultaneous utilizations of ferredoxin and dye deviate electron flow from hydrogen to NADH production initially by the enzymatic regulation of in vivo hydrogenase and ferredoxin NAD reductase activities. The higher NAD(P)H pool generated might, thereafter, be the signal for the setting up of a new metabolism. In the resulting steady-state, the NAD(P)H ‘pressure’ is maintained by high ferredoxin NAD and NADP reductases level associated to a low NADH ferredoxin reductase level. The regeneration of NAD is mainly achieved via the induced or increased NADH-dependent aldehyde and alcohol dehydrogenase activities.