Escherichia coli can ferment glycerol anaerobically only under very defined restrictive conditions. Hence, it was the aim of this study to overcome this limitation via a co-cultivation approach. Anaerobic glycerol fermentation by a pure E. coli culture was compared to a co-culture that also contained the formate-oxidizing methanogen Methanobacterium formicicum. Co-cultivation of the two strains led to a more than 11-fold increased glycerol consumption. Furthermore, it supported a constantly neutral pH and a shift from ethanol to succinate production. Moreover, M. formicicum was analyzed for its ability to grow on different standard media and a surprising versatility could be demonstrated.
Keywords: Co-culture; E. coli; Formate; Glycerol fermentation; M. formicicum.
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