Physiology of the yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus during batch and chemostat cultures with glucose as the sole carbon source

FEMS Yeast Res. 2007 May;7(3):422-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2006.00192.x. Epub 2007 Jan 18.


Growth, substrate consumption, metabolite formation, biomass composition and respiratory parameters of Kluyveromyces marxianus ATCC 26548 were determined during aerobic batch and chemostat cultivations, using mineral medium with glucose as the sole carbon source, at 30 degrees C and pH 5.0. Carbon balances closed within 95-101% in all experiments. A maximum specific growth rate of 0.56 h(-1), a biomass yield on glucose of 0.51 g g(-1), and a maximum specific consumption of oxygen of 11.1 mmol g(-1) h(-1) were obtained during batch cultures. The concentration of excreted metabolites was very low at the culture conditions applied, representing 6% of the consumed carbon at most. Acetate and pyruvate were excreted to a larger extent than ethanol under the batch conditions, and the protein content accounted for 54.6% of the biomass dry weight. Steady states were obtained during chemostats at dilution rates of 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 h(-1). At the two former dilution rates, cells grew at carbon limitation and the biomass yield on glucose was similar to that obtained under the batch conditions. Metabolite formation was rather low, accounting for a total of 0.005 C-mol C-mol(-1) substrate. At 0.5 h(-1), although the biomass yield on glucose was similar to the value obtained under the above-mentioned conditions, the cultivation was not under carbon limitation. Under this condition, 2-oxoglutarate, acetate, pyruvate and ethanol were the prevalent metabolites excreted. Total metabolite formation only accounted to 0.056 C-mol C-mol(-1) of substrate. A very high protein and a low carbohydrate content (71.9% and 9.6% of biomass dry weight, respectively) were measured in cells under this condition. It is concluded that K. marxianus aligns with the so-called aerobic-respiring or Crabtree-negative yeasts. Furthermore, it has one of the highest growth rates among yeasts, and a high capacity of converting sugar into biomass, even when carbon is not the limiting nutrient. These results provide useful data regarding the future application of K. marxianus in processes aimed at the production of biomass-linked compounds, with high yields and productivities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Bioreactors
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Culture Media
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Industrial Microbiology / methods*
  • Kluyveromyces / growth & development
  • Kluyveromyces / metabolism
  • Kluyveromyces / physiology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism


  • Culture Media
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Glucose
  • Oxygen