Journal article Open Access

Capnophilic Lactic Fermentation from Thermotoga neapolitana: A Resourceful Pathway to Obtain Almost Enantiopure L-lactic Acid

Nuzzo, Genoveffa; Landi, Simone; Esercizio, Nunzia; Manzo, Emiliano; Fontana, Angelo; d'Ippolito, Giuliana

The industrial production of lactic acid (LA) is mainly based on bacterial fermentation. This process can result in enantiopure or racemic mixture according to the producing organism. Between the enantiomers, L-lactic acid shows superior market value. Recently, we reported a novel anaplerotic pathway called capnophilic lactic fermentation (CLF) that produces a high concentration of LA by fermentation of sugar in the anaerobic thermophilic bacterium Thermotoga neapolitana. The aim of this work was the identification of the enantiomeric characterization of the LA produced by T. neapolitana and identification of the lactate dehydrogenase in T. neapolitana (TnLDH) and related bacteria of the order Thermotogales. Chemical derivatization and GC/MS analysis were applied to define the stereochemistry of LA from T. neapolitana. A bioinformatics study on TnLDH was carried
out for the characterization of the enzyme. Chemical analysis showed a 95.2% enantiomeric excess of L-LA produced by T. neapolitana. A phylogenetic approach clearly clustered the TnLDH together with the L-LDH from lactic acid bacteria. We report for the first time that T. neapolitana is able to produce almost enantiopure L-lactic acid. The result was confirmed by bioinformatics analysis on TnLDH, which is a member of the L-LDH sub-family.

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