Microcultivation and FTIR spectroscopy-based screening revealed a nutrient-induced co-production of high-value metabolites in oleaginous Mucoromycota fungi
S. Dzurendova, B. Zimmermann, A. Kohler, V. Tafintseva, O. Slany, M. Certik, V. Shapaval
Mucoromycota fungi possess a versatile metabolism and can utilize various substrates for production of industrially important products, such as lipids, chitin/chitosan, polyphosphates, pigments, alcohols and organic acids. However, as far as commercialisation is concerned, establishing industrial biotechnological processes based on Mucoromycota fungi is still challenging due to the high production costs compared to the final product value. Therefore, the development of co-production concept is highly desired since more than one valuable product could be produced at the time and the process has a potentially higher viability. To develop such biotechnological strategy, we applied a high throughput approach consisting of micro-titre cultivation and FTIR spectroscopy. This approach allows single-step biochemical fingerprinting of either fungal biomass or growth media without tedious extraction of metabolites. The influence of two types of nitrogen sources and different levels of inorganic phosphorus on the co-production of lipids, chitin/chitosan and polyphosphates for nine different oleaginous Mucoromycota fungi was evaluated. FTIR analysis of biochemical composition of Mucoromycota fungi and biomass yield showed that variation in inorganic phosphorus had higher effect when inorganic nitrogen source–ammonium sulphate–was used. It was observed that: (1) Umbelopsis vinacea reached almost double biomass yield compared to other strains when yeast extract was used as nitrogen source while phosphorus limitation had little effect on the biomass yield; (2) Mucor circinelloides, Rhizopus stolonifer, Amylomyces rouxii, Absidia glauca and Lichtheimia corymbifera overproduced chitin/chitosan under the low pH caused by the limitation of inorganic phosphorus; (3) Mucor circinelloides, Amylomyces rouxii, Rhizopus stolonifer and Absidia glauca were able to store polyphosphates in addition to lipids when high concentration of inorganic phosphorus was used; (4) the biomass and lipid yield of high-value lipid producers Mortierella alpina and Mortierella hyalina were significantly increased when high concentrations of inorganic phosphorus were combined with ammonium sulphate, while the same amount of inorganic phosphorus combined with yeast extract showed negative impact on the growth and lipid accumulation. FTIR spectroscopy revealed the co-production potential of several oleaginous Mucoromycota fungi forming lipids, chitin/chitosan and polyphosphates in a single cultivation process.