Rhamnolipid production was monitored for a period of 216 h using different substrates in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 and Burkholderia thailandensis E264 which showed comparable crude yields attained by both after 216 h. The crude yield for P. aeruginosa, however, was significantly higher at the early stages of fermentation (72 or 144 h). Additionally, P. aeruginosa produced rhamnolipid with odd and even carbon chain lipid moieties using odd carbon chain fatty acid substrates (up to 45.97 and 67.57%, respectively). In contrast, B. thailandensis produced rhamnolipid with predominantly even carbon chain lipid moieties (up to 99.26). These results indicate the use of the fatty acid synthesis (FAS II) pathway as the main source of lipid precursors in rhamnolipid biosynthesis by B. thailandensis. Isotope tracing using 0.25% stearic acid – d 35 + 1% glycerol as carbon substrate showed a single pattern of deuterium incorporation: with predominantly less than 15 deuterium atoms incorporated into a single Di-C14-C14 rhamnolipid molecule. This further indicates that the FAS II pathway is the main source of the lipid precursor in rhamnolipid biosynthesis by B. thailandensis. The pathogenicity of these strains was also assessed, and results showed that B. thailandensis is significantly less pathogenic than P. aeruginosa with an LC50 at 24 h > 2500, approximately three logs higher than P. aeruginosa using the Galleria mellonella larva model.
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- Rhamnolipid FAS II β-oxidation B. thailandensis P. aeruginosa Deuterium labelling