Accumulation and mobilization of storage lipids by Rhodococcus opacus PD630 and Rhodococcus ruber NCIMB 40126

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2000 Aug;54(2):218-23. doi: 10.1007/s002530000395.


The time course of the accumulation of triacylglycerols (TAGs) in Rhodococcus opacus PD630 or of TAGs plus polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) in Rhodococcus ruber NCIMB 40126 with gluconate or glucose as carbon source, respectively, was studied. In addition, we examined the mobilization of these storage compounds in the absence of a carbon source. R. opacus accumulated TAGs only after the exhaustion of ammonium in the medium, and, with a fixed concentration of the carbon source, the amounts of TAGs in the cells increased with decreasing concentrations of ammonium in the medium. When these cells were incubated in the absence of an additional carbon source, about 90% of these TAGs were mobilized and used as endogenous carbon source, particularly if ammonium was available. R. ruber accumulated a copolyester consisting of 3-hydroxybutyrate and 3-hydroxyvalerate already during the early exponential growth phase, whereas TAGs were synthesized and accumulated mainly during the late exponential and stationary growth phases. In the stationary growth phase, synthesis of TAGs continued, whereas PHA was partially mobilized. In the absence of an additional carbon source but in the presence of ammonium, mobilization of TAGs started first and was then paralleled by the mobilization of PHA, resulting in an approximately 90% and 80% decrease of these storage compounds, respectively. During the accumulation phase, interesting shifts in the composition of the two storage compounds occurred, indicating that the substrates of the PHA synthase and the TAG synthesizing enzymes were provided to varying extents, depending on whether the cells were in the early or late exponential or in the stationary growth phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Culture Media
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gluconates / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipids / biosynthesis
  • Polyesters / metabolism
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / metabolism
  • Rhodococcus / growth & development
  • Rhodococcus / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / biosynthesis
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Culture Media
  • Fatty Acids
  • Gluconates
  • Lipids
  • Polyesters
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Triglycerides
  • poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)-co-(3-hydroxyvalerate)
  • Glucose
  • gluconic acid