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Morphological and physiological characterization of filamentous Lentzea aerocolonigenes: Comparison of biopellets by microscopy and flow cytometry

Schrinner, Kathrin; Veiter, Lukas; Schmideder, Stefan; Doppler, Philipp; Schrader, Marcel; Münch, Nadine; Althof, Kristin; Kwade, Arno ORCID; Briesen, Heiko; Herwig, Christoph; Krull, Rainer ORCID

Cell morphology of filamentous microorganisms is highly interesting during cultivations as it is often linked to productivity and can be influenced by process conditions. Hence, the characterization of cell morphology is of major importance to improve the understanding of industrial processes with filamentous microorganisms. For this purpose, reliable and robust methods are necessary. In this study, pellet morphology and physiology of the rebeccamycin producing filamentous actinomycete Lentzea aerocolonigenes were investigated by microscopy and flow cytometry. Both methods were compared regarding their applicability. To achieve different morphologies, a cultivation with glass bead addition (Ø = 969 μm, 100 g L-1) was compared to an unsupplemented cultivation. This led to two different macro-morphologies. Furthermore, glass bead addition increased rebeccamycin titers after 10 days of cultivation (95 mg L-1 with glass beads, 38 mg L-1 without glass beads). Macro-morphology and viability were investigated through microscopy and flow cytometry. For viability assessment fluorescent staining was used additionally. Smaller, more regular pellets were found for glass bead addition. Pellet diameters resulting from microscopy followed by image analysis were 172 μm without and 106 μm with glass beads, diameters from flow cytometry were 170 and 100 μm, respectively. These results show excellent agreement of both methods, each considering several thousand pellets. Furthermore, the pellet viability obtained from both methods suggested an enhanced metabolic activity in glass bead treated pellets during the exponential production phase. However, total viability values differ for flow cytometry (0.32 without and 0.41 with glass beads) and confocal laser scanning microscopy of single stained pellet slices (life ratio in production phase of 0.10 without and 0.22 with glass beads), which is probably caused by the different numbers of investigated pellets. In confocal laser scanning microscopy only one pellet per sample could be investigated while flow cytometry considered at least 50 pellets per sample, resulting in an increased statistical reliability.

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Schrinner, K., Veiter, L., Schmideder, S., Doppler, P., Schrader, M., Münch, N., Althof, K., Kwade, A., Briesen, H., Herwig, C., Krull, R., 2020. Morphological and physiological characterization of filamentous Lentzea aerocolonigenes: Comparison of biopellets by microscopy and flow cytometry. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234125
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