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Summary

The development of efficient recovery processes is essential to reduce the cost of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) production. In this work, a programmed self-disruptive Pseudomonas putida BXHL strain, derived from the prototype medium-chain-length PHA producer bacterium P. putida KT2440, was constructed as a proof of concept for exploring the possibility to control and facilitate the release of PHA granules to the extracellular medium. The new autolytic cell disruption system is based on two simultaneous strategies: the coordinated action of two proteins from the pneumococcal bacteriophage EJ-1, an endolysin (Ejl) and a holin (Ejh), and the mutation of the tolB gene, which exhibits alterations in outer membrane integrity that induce lysis hypersensitivity. The ejl and ejh coding genes were expressed under a XylS/Pm monocopy expression system inserted into the chromosome of the tolB mutant strain, in the presence of 3-methylbenzoate as inducer molecule. Our results demonstrate that the intracellular presence of PHA granules confers resistance to cell envelope. Conditions to control the cell autolysis in P. putida BXHL in terms of optimal fermentation, PHA content and PHA recovery have been set up by exploring the sensitivity to detergents, chelating agents and wet biomass solubility in organic solvents such as ethyl acetate.