Engineering Bacterial Biomanufacturing: Characterization and Manipulation of Sphingomonas sp. LM7 Extracellular Polymers

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 May 16:2024.05.16.594401. doi: 10.1101/2024.05.16.594401.


Biologically produced materials are an attractive alternative to traditional materials such as metals and plastics and offer improved functionalities such as better biodegradability and biocompatibility. Polysaccharides are an example of a biologically produced materials that can have a range of chemical and physical properties including high stiffness to weight ratios and thermal stability. Biomanufactured bacterial polysaccharides can come with many advantages such as being non-toxic and are mechanically robust relative to proteins and lipids, which are also secreted by bacteria to generate a biofilm. One major goal in biomanufacturing is to produce quality material quickly and cost-effectively. Biomanufacturing offers additional benefits compared to traditional manufacturing including low resource investment and equipment requirements, providing an alternative to sourcing fossil fuel byproducts, and relatively low temperatures needed for production. However, many biologically produced materials require complex and lengthy purification processes before use. This paper 1) identifies the material properties of a novel polysaccharide, dubbed promonan, isolated from the extracellular polymeric substances of Sphingomonas sp. LM7; 2) demonstrates that these properties can be manipulated to suit specific applications; and 3) presents two alternative methods of processing to shorten purification time by more than 50% while maintaining comparable material.

Publication types

  • Preprint