Improving isopropanol tolerance and production of Clostridium beijerinckii DSM 6423 by random mutagenesis and genome shuffling

H. Máté De Gérando, F. Fayolle-Guichard, L. Rudant, S.K. Millah, F. Monot, Nicolas Lopes Ferreira*, A.M. López-Contreras

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Random mutagenesis and genome shuffling was applied to improve solvent tolerance and isopropanol/butanol/ethanol (IBE) production in the strictly anaerobic bacteria Clostridium beijerinckii DSM 6423. Following chemical mutagenesis with N-methyl-N-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (NTG), screening of putatively improved strains was done by submitting the mutants to toxic levels of inhibitory chemicals or by screening for their tolerance to isopropanol (>35 g/L). Suicide substrates, such as ethyl or methyl bromobutyrate or alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitors like allyl alcohol, were tested and, finally, 36 mutants were isolated. The fermentation profiles of these NTG mutant strains were characterized, and the best performing mutants were used for consecutive rounds of genome shuffling. Screening of strains with further enhancement in isopropanol tolerance at each recursive shuffling step was then used to spot additionally improved strains. Three highly tolerant strains were finally isolated and able to withstand up to 50 g/L isopropanol on plates. Even if increased tolerance to the desired end product was not always accompanied by higher production capabilities, some shuffled strains showed increased solvent titers compared to the parental strains and the original C. beijerinckii DSM 6423. This study confirms the efficiency of genome shuffling to generate improved strains toward a desired phenotype such as alcohol tolerance. This tool also offers the possibility of obtaining improved strains of Clostridium species for which targeted genetic engineering approaches have not been described yet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Pages (from-to)5427-5436
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Clostridium beijerinckii
  • Genome shuffling
  • IBE fermentation
  • Isopropanol tolerance
  • Mutagenesis

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