Characterising rhamnolipid production in Burkholderia thailandensis E264, a non-pathogenic producer

Scott Funston, Konstantina Tsaousi, Michelle Rudden, Thomas Smyth, Paul Stevenson, R Marchant, Ibrahim M Banat

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Burkholderia thailandensis E264 is a rhamnolipid (RL)-producing gram-negative bacterium first isolated from the soils and stagnant waters of central and north-eastern Thailand. Growth of B. thailandensis E264 under two different incubation temperatures (25 and 30 °C) resulted in a significantly higher dry cell biomass production at 30 °C (7.71 g/l) than at 25 °C (4.75 g/l) after 264 h; however, incubation at the lower temperature resulted in consistently higher concentration of RL production throughout the growth period. After 264 h, the concentration of crude RL extract for the 25 °C culture was 2.79 g/l compared to 1.99 g/l for the 30 °C culture.Overall RL production concentration after 264 h was 0.258 g/g dry cell biomass (DCB) for the 30 °C culture compared to 0.587 g/g DCB for the 25 °C culture. Real-time PCR (qPCR) was also used to analyse expression of the RL biosynthesis genes throughout the incubation period at 25 °C showing that the expression of the rhlA, rhlB and rhlC genes is continuous. During the log and early stationary phases of growth, expression levels remain low and are increased upon entry to the late stationary phase. B. thailandensis E264 produces mostly di-RLs and the Di-RL C14-C14 in most abundance (41.88 %). Fermentations were also carried out in small-scale bioreactors (4 l working volume) under controlled conditions, and results showed that RL production was maintained. Our findings show that B. thailandensis E264 has excellent potential for industrial scale RL production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7945-7956
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Early online date31 May 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2016


  • Biosurfactants
  • Rhamnolipids
  • Burkholderia thailandensis
  • Gene expression
  • Di-rhamnolipids
  • qPCR


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