Insights into the pH-dependent, extracellular sucrose utilization and concomitant levan formation by Gluconobacter albidus TMW 2.1191

Frank Jakob, Clara Gebrande, Regina M. Bichler, Rudi F. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Many bacteria and archaea produce the polydisperse fructose polymer levan from sucrose upon biofilm formation via extracellular levansucrases (EC We have investigated levansucrase-release and -activities as well as molecular size of the levan formed by the acetic acid bacterium Gluconobacter albidus TMW 2.1191 at varying environmental pH conditions to obtain insight in the ecological role of its constitutively expressed levansucrase and the produced levan. A buffer system was established enabling the recovery of levansucrase-containing supernatants from preincubated cell suspensions at pH 4.3–pH 5.7. The enzyme solutions were used to produce levans at different pH values and sucrose concentrations. Finally, the amounts and size distributions of the produced levans as well as the corresponding levansucrase activities were determined and correlated with each other. The data revealed that the levansucrase was released into the environment independently of its substrate sucrose, and that more levansucrase was released at pH ≥ 5.0. The glucose release and formation of high molecular weight levans (> 3.5 kDa) from 0.1 M initial sucrose was comparable between pH ~ 4.3–5.7 using equal amounts of released levansucrase. Hence, this type of levansucrase appears to be structurally adapted to changes in the extracellular pH and to exhibit a similar total activity over a wide acidic pH range, while it produced higher amounts of larger levan molecules at higher production pH and sucrose concentrations. These findings indicate the physiological adaptation of G. albidus TMW 2.1191 to efficient colonisation of sucrose-rich habitats via released levansucrases despite changing extracellular pH conditions in course of acid formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-873
Number of pages11
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek, International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • Gluconobacter
  • Levan
  • Levansucrase
  • Sucrose
  • pH


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