Mark S Ou

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States

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Publications (10)28.12 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Bacillus coagulans is a ubiquitous soil bacterium that grows at 50-55 °C and pH 5.0 and ferments various sugars that constitute plant biomass to L (+)-lactic acid. The ability of this sporogenic lactic acid bacterium to grow at 50-55 °C and pH 5.0 makes this organism an attractive microbial biocatalyst for production of optically pure lactic acid at industrial scale not only from glucose derived from cellulose but also from xylose, a major constituent of hemicellulose. This bacterium is also considered as a potential probiotic. Complete genome sequence of a representative strain, B. coagulans strain 36D1, is presented and discussed.
    Standards in Genomic Sciences 12/2011; 5(3):331-40. DOI:10.4056/sigs.2365342 · 3.17 Impact Factor
  • Mark S Ou · Lonnie O Ingram · K T Shanmugam
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    ABSTRACT: Lactic acid is used as an additive in foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics, and is also an industrial chemical. Optically pure lactic acid is increasingly used as a renewable bio-based product to replace petroleum-based plastics. However, current production of lactic acid depends on carbohydrate feedstocks that have alternate uses as foods. The use of non-food feedstocks by current commercial biocatalysts is limited by inefficient pathways for pentose utilization. B. coagulans strain 36D1 is a thermotolerant bacterium that can grow and efficiently ferment pentoses using the pentose-phosphate pathway and all other sugar constituents of lignocellulosic biomass at 50°C and pH 5.0, conditions that also favor simultaneous enzymatic saccharification and fermentation (SSF) of cellulose. Using this bacterial biocatalyst, high levels (150-180 g l(-1)) of lactic acid were produced from xylose and glucose with minimal by-products in mineral salts medium. In a fed-batch SSF of crystalline cellulose with fungal enzymes and B. coagulans, lactic acid titer was 80 g l(-1) and the yield was close to 80%. These results demonstrate that B. coagulans can effectively ferment non-food carbohydrates from lignocellulose to L: (+)-lactic acid at sufficient concentrations for commercial application. The high temperature fermentation of pentoses and hexoses to lactic acid by B. coagulans has these additional advantages: reduction in cellulase loading in SSF of cellulose with a decrease in enzyme cost in the process and a reduction in contamination of large-scale fermentations.
    Journal of Industrial Microbiology 05/2011; 38(5):599-605. DOI:10.1007/s10295-010-0796-4 · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During anaerobic growth of Escherichia coli, pyruvate formate-lyase (PFL) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) channel pyruvate toward a mixture of fermentation products. We have introduced a third branch at the pyruvate node in a mutant of E. coli with a mutation in pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH*) that renders the enzyme less sensitive to inhibition by NADH. The key starting enzymes of the three branches at the pyruvate node in such a mutant, PDH*, PFL, and LDH, have different metabolic potentials and kinetic properties. In such a mutant (strain QZ2), pyruvate flux through LDH was about 30%, with the remainder of the flux occurring through PFL, indicating that LDH is a preferred route of pyruvate conversion over PDH*. In a pfl mutant (strain YK167) with both PDH* and LDH activities, flux through PDH* was about 33% of the total, confirming the ability of LDH to outcompete the PDH pathway for pyruvate in vivo. Only in the absence of LDH (strain QZ3) was pyruvate carbon equally distributed between the PDH* and PFL pathways. A pfl mutant with LDH and PDH* activities, as well as a pfl ldh double mutant with PDH* activity, had a surprisingly low cell yield per mole of ATP (Y(ATP)) (about 7.0 g of cells per mol of ATP) compared to 10.9 g of cells per mol of ATP for the wild type. The lower Y(ATP) suggests the operation of a futile energy cycle in the absence of PFL in this strain. An understanding of the controls at the pyruvate node during anaerobic growth is expected to provide unique insights into rational metabolic engineering of E. coli and related bacteria for the production of various biobased products at high rates and yields.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 04/2010; 76(7):2107-14. DOI:10.1128/AEM.02545-09 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass depends on simultaneous saccharification of cellulose to glucose by fungal cellulases and fermentation of glucose to ethanol by microbial biocatalysts (SSF). The cost of cellulase enzymes represents a significant challenge for the commercial conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into renewable chemicals such as ethanol and monomers for plastics. The cellulase concentration for optimum SSF of crystalline cellulose with fungal enzymes and a moderate thermophile, Bacillus coagulans, was determined to be about 7.5 FPU g(-1) cellulose. This is about three times lower than the amount of cellulase required for SSF with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Zymomonas mobilis, or Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis whose growth and fermentation temperature optimum is significantly lower than that of the fungal cellulase activity. In addition, B. coagulans also converted about 80% of the theoretical yield of products from 40 g/L of crystalline cellulose in about 48 h of SSF with 10 FPU g(-1) cellulose while yeast, during the same period, only produced about 50% of the highest yield produced at end of 7 days of SSF. These results show that a match in the temperature optima for cellulase activity and fermentation is essential for decreasing the cost of cellulase in cellulosic ethanol production.
    Applied biochemistry and biotechnology 02/2009; 155(1-3):379-85. DOI:10.1007/s12010-008-8509-4 · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Biomass-derived sugars, such as glucose, xylose, and other minor sugars, can be readily fermented to fuel ethanol and commodity chemicals by the appropriate microbes. Due to the differences in the optimum conditions for the activity of the fungal cellulases that are required for depolymerization of cellulose to fermentable sugars and the growth and fermentation characteristics of the current industrial microbes, simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) of cellulose is envisioned at conditions that are not optimal for the fungal cellulase activity, leading to a higher-than-required cost of cellulase in SSF. We have isolated bacterial strains that grew and fermented both glucose and xylose, major components of cellulose and hemicellulose, respectively, to l(+)-lactic acid at 50 degrees C and pH 5.0, conditions that are also optimal for fungal cellulase activity. Xylose was metabolized by these new isolates through the pentose-phosphate pathway. As expected for the metabolism of xylose by the pentose-phosphate pathway, [(13)C]lactate accounted for more than 90% of the total (13)C-labeled products from [(13)C]xylose. Based on fatty acid profile and 16S rRNA sequence, these isolates cluster with Bacillus coagulans, although the B. coagulans type strain, ATCC 7050, failed to utilize xylose as a carbon source. These new B. coagulans isolates have the potential to reduce the cost of SSF by minimizing the amount of fungal cellulases, a significant cost component in the use of biomass as a renewable resource, for the production of fuels and chemicals.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 06/2006; 72(5):3228-35. DOI:10.1128/AEM.72.5.3228-3235.2006 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Polylactides produced from renewable feedstocks, such as corn starch, are being developed as alternatives to plastics derived from petroleum. In addition to corn, other less expensive biomass resources can be readily converted to component sugars (glucose, xylose, etc.) by enzyme and/or chemical treatment for fermentation to optically pure lactic acid to reduce the cost of lactic acid. Lactic acid bacteria used by the industry lack the ability to ferment pentoses (hemicellulose-derived xylose and arabinose), and their growth and fermentation optima also differ from the optimal conditions for the activity of fungal cellulases required for depolymerization of cellulose. To reduce the overall cost of simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) of cellulose, we have isolated bacterial biocatalysts that can grow and ferment all sugars in the biomass at conditions that are also optimal for fungal cellulases. SSF of Solka Floc cellulose by one such isolate, Bacillus sp. strain 36D1, yielded l(+)-lactic acid at an optical purity higher than 95% with cellulase (Spezyme CE; Genencor International) added at about 10 FPU/g cellulose, with a product yield of about 90% of the expected maximum. Volumetric productivity of SSF to lactic acid was optimal between culture pH values of 4.5 and 5.5 at 50 degrees C. At a constant pH of 5.0, volumetric productivity of lactic acid was maximal at 55 degrees C. Strain 36D1 also co-fermented cellulose-derived glucose and sugar cane bagasse hemicellulose-derived xylose simultaneously (SSCF). In a batch SSCF of 40% acid-treated hemicellulose hydrolysate (over-limed) and 20 g/L Solka Floc cellulose, strain 36D1 produced about 35 g/L lactic acid in about 144 h with 15 FPU of Spezyme CE/g cellulose. The maximum volumetric productivity of lactic acid in this SSCF was 6.7 mmol/L (h). Cellulose-derived lactic acid contributed to about 30% of this total lactic acid. These results show that Bacillus sp. strain 36D1 is well-suited for simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation of all of the biomass-derived sugars to lactic acid.
    Biotechnology Progress 10/2005; 21(5):1453-60. DOI:10.1021/bp0400339 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sugar cane bagasse hemicellulose, hydrolyzed by dilute H2SO4, supplemented with mineral salts and 0.5% corn steep liquor, was fermented to L(+)-lactic acid using a newly isolated strain of Bacillus sp. In batch fermentations at 50 degrees C and pH 5, over 5.5% (w/v) L(+)-lactic acid was produced (89% theoretical yield; 0.9 g lactate per g sugar) with an optical purity of 99.5%.
    Biotechnology Letters 07/2004; 26(11):865-8. DOI:10.1023/B:bile.0000025893.27700.5c · 1.74 Impact Factor
  • Advances in applied microbiology 02/2001; 50:279-338. DOI:10.1016/S0065-2164(01)50008-8 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Survival of cells is critically dependent on their ability to rapidly adapt to changes in the natural environment no matter how 'extreme'the habitat. An interplay between protein folding and hydrolysis is emerging as a central mechanism for stress survival and proper cell function. In eucaryotic cells, most proteins destined for destruction are covalently modified by the ubiquitin-system and then degraded in an energy-dependent mechanism by the 26S proteasome, a multicatalytic protease. The 26S proteasome is composed of a 20S proteolytic core and 19S cap (PA700) regulator which includes six AAA+ ATPase subunits. Related AAA+ proteins and 20S proteasomes are found in the archaea and Gram positive actinomycetes. In general, 20S proteasomes form a barrel-shaped nanocompartment with narrow openings which isolate rather non-specific proteolytic active-sites to the interior of the cylinder and away from interaction with cytosolic proteins. The proteasome-associated AAA+ proteins are predicted to form ring-like structures which unfold substrate proteins for entry into the central proteolytic 20S chamber resulting in an energy-dependent and processive destruction of the protein. Detailed biochemical and biophysical analysis as well as identification of proteasomes in archaea with developed genetic tools are providing a foundation for understanding the biological role of the proteasome in these unusual organisms.
    Frontiers in Bioscience 10/2000; 5:D837-65. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The 20S proteasome is a self-compartmentalized protease which degrades unfolded polypeptides and has been purified from eucaryotes, gram-positive actinomycetes, and archaea. Energy-dependent complexes, such as the 19S cap of the eucaryal 26S proteasome, are assumed to be responsible for the recognition and/or unfolding of substrate proteins which are then translocated into the central chamber of the 20S proteasome and hydrolyzed to polypeptide products of 3 to 30 residues. All archaeal genomes which have been sequenced are predicted to encode proteins with up to approximately 50% identity to the six ATPase subunits of the 19S cap. In this study, one of these archaeal homologs which has been named PAN for proteasome-activating nucleotidase was characterized from the hyperthermophile Methanococcus jannaschii. In addition, the M. jannaschii 20S proteasome was purified as a 700-kDa complex by in vitro assembly of the alpha and beta subunits and has an unusually high rate of peptide and unfolded-polypeptide hydrolysis at 100 degrees C. The 550-kDa PAN complex was required for CTP- or ATP-dependent degradation of beta-casein by archaeal 20S proteasomes. A 500-kDa complex of PAN(Delta1-73), which has a deletion of residues 1 to 73 of the deduced protein and disrupts the predicted N-terminal coiled-coil, also facilitated this energy-dependent proteolysis. However, this deletion increased the types of nucleotides hydrolyzed to include not only ATP and CTP but also ITP, GTP, TTP, and UTP. The temperature optimum for nucleotide (ATP) hydrolysis was reduced from 80 degrees C for the full-length protein to 65 degrees C for PAN(Delta1-73). Both PAN protein complexes were stable in the absence of ATP and were inhibited by N-ethylmaleimide and p-chloromercuriphenyl-sulfonic acid. Kinetic analysis reveals that the PAN protein has a relatively high V(max) for ATP and CTP hydrolysis of 3.5 and 5.8 micromol of P(i) per min per mg of protein as well as a relatively low affinity for CTP and ATP with K(m) values of 307 and 497 microM compared to other proteins of the AAA family. Based on electron micrographs, PAN and PAN(Delta1-73) apparently associate with the ends of the 20S proteasome cylinder. These results suggest that the M. jannaschii as well as related archaeal 20S proteasomes require a nucleotidase complex such as PAN to mediate the energy-dependent hydrolysis of folded-substrate proteins and that the N-terminal 73 amino acid residues of PAN are not absolutely required for this reaction.
    Journal of Bacteriology 04/2000; 182(6):1680-92. DOI:10.1128/JB.182.6.1680-1692.2000 · 2.69 Impact Factor