Enhanced rhamnolipid production by Pseudomonas aeruginosa under phosphate limitation
Article in Press
Rhamnolipid biosurfactants are effective antimicrobial agents and provide a promising alternative to synthetic medicine. Rhamnolipid accumulation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9027, and associated antimicrobial activity, was quantified during phosphate limited culture. The onset of rhamnolipid production occurred below 0.35 mg phosphate/l. Thereafter rhamnolipid accumulated during phosphate exhaustion where nitrogen remained above 0.9 g/l. A maximum 4.261 g rhamnolipid/l (measured as 1.333 g rhamnose/l) was attained at a productivity of 0.013 g rhamnose/l/h. Rhamnolipid accumulation under conditions of phosphate exhaustion and nitrogen excess suggests a non-specificity of the limiting nutrient, and that rhamnolipids will be synthesised provided carbon is in excess of the metabolic capacity. Antimicrobial activity was demonstrated against Mycobacterium aurum, a surrogate for M. tuberculosis, the causal agent of most forms of tuberculosis, by a 45 mm zone of M. aurum inhibition around a well of supernatant containing 3.954 g rhamnolipid/l. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.