The potential of Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973 for sugar feedstock production

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016 Sep;100(18):7865-75. doi: 10.1007/s00253-016-7510-z. Epub 2016 Apr 14.


It is important to obtain abundant sugar feedstocks economically and sustainably for bio-fermentation industry, especially for producing cheap biofuels and biochemicals. Besides plant biomass, photosynthetic cyanobacteria have also been considered to be potential microbe candidates for sustainable production of carbohydrate feedstocks. As the fastest growing cyanobacterium reported so far, Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973 (Syn2973) might have huge potential for bioproduction. In this study, we explored the potentials of this strain as photo-bioreactors for sucrose and glycogen production. Under nitrogen-replete condition, Syn2973 could accumulate glycogen with a rate of 0.75 g L(-1) day(-1) at the exponential phase and reach a glycogen content as high as 51 % of the dry cell weight (DCW) at the stationary phase. By introducing a sucrose transporter CscB, Syn2973 was endowed with an ability to secrete over 94 % sucrose out of cells under salt stress condition. The highest extracellular sucrose productivity reached 35.5 mg L(-1) h(-1) for the Syn2973 strain expressing cscB, which contained the similar amounts of intracellular glycogen with the wild type. Potassium chloride was firstly proved to induce sucrose accumulation as well as sodium chloride in Syn2973. By semi-continuous culturing, 8.7 g L(-1) sucrose was produced by the cscB-expressing strain of Syn2973 in 21 days. These results support that Syn2973 is a promising candidate with great potential for production of sugars.

Keywords: Glycogen; Salt stress; Sucrose; Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973.

MeSH terms

  • Glycogen / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Engineering / methods*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / genetics*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Photobioreactors
  • Photosynthesis*
  • Sodium Chloride / metabolism
  • Sucrose / metabolism*
  • Synechococcus / growth & development*
  • Synechococcus / metabolism*


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose
  • Glycogen
  • Nitrogen