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Expression of Vitreoscilla hemoglobin in Gordonia amarae enhances biosurfactant production
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The gene (vgb) encoding Vitreoscilla (bacterial) hemoglobin (VHb) was electroporated into Gordonia amarae, where it was stably maintained, and expressed at about 4 nmol VHb g -1 of cells. The maximum cell mass (OD 600) of vgb-bearing G. amarae was greater than that of untransformed G. amarae for a variety of media and aeration conditions (2.8-fold under normal aeration and 3.4-fold under limited aeration in rich medium, and 3.5-fold under normal aeration and 3.2-fold under limited aeration in mineral salts medium). The maximum level of trehalose lipid from cultures grown in rich medium plus hexadecane was also increased for the recombinant strain, by 4.0-fold in broth and 1.8-fold in cells under normal aeration and 2.1-fold in broth and 1.4-fold in cells under limited aeration. Maximum overall biosurfactant production was also increased in the engineered strain, by 1.4-fold and 2.4-fold for limited and normal aeration, respectively. The engineered strain may be an improved source for producing purified biosurfactant or an aid to microorganisms bioremediating sparingly soluble contaminants in situ.