A microbial oxidation process for the production of p-hydroxybenzoate (HBA) from toluene is reported. The oxidation reaction was studied in fed-batch fermentations using a recombinant Pseudomonas putida grown on glutamate as the sole carbon and energy source with salicylate and IPTG induction of tmoABCDE, and pchCF and phbz pathway genes, respectively. An average volumetric HBA productivity of 13.4 mg HBA x L(-1) x h(-1) was obtained under rapid growth conditions (glutamate excess), giving an HBA titer of 132 mg x L(-1) after 9.8 h of fermentation. This corresponded to an average specific HBA productivity of 7.2 microg HBA (mg total protein)(-1) x h(-1). In contrast, maximum HBA titers of 35 mg HBA x L(-1) were achieved in 27 h in comparative studies employing glutumate limited fed-batch cultures. A specific productivity of 4.1 microg HBA (mg total protein)(-1) x h(-1) and volumetric productivity of 1.3 mg HBA x L(-1) x h(-1) were calculated for the growth-rate restricted cultures. The differences in HBA production between the two cultures could be correlated to the levels of specific toluene-4-monooxygenase (T4MO) polypeptides. T4MO catalyzes the rate-limiting step in the pathway. Using experimental data, the half-life value of TmoA was calculated to be approximately 28 h. Assuming linear, monomolecular decay of TmoA, a specific degradation constant of 0.025 x h(-1) was calculated, which placed the stability of recombinant TmoA in the range of relatively stable proteins, even in the absence of co-expression of tmoF, the terminal oxidoreductase subunit of T4MO.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.