A novel finding that Streptomyces clavuligerus can produce the antibiotic clavulanic acid using olive oil as a sole carbon source

G. Efthimiou, A.E. Thumser, C.A. Avignone-Rossa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Aims:  This study aims to establish whether commercially available food oils can be used by Streptomyces clavuligerus as sole carbon sources for growth and clavulanic acid production. Methods and results:  Batch cultures in bioreactors showed that Strep. clavuligerus growth and clavulanic acid yields in a P-limited medium containing 0.6% (v/v) olive oil were respectively 2.5- and 2.6-fold higher than in a glycerol-containing medium used as control. Glycerol- and olive oil-grown cells present different macromolecular composition, particularly lipid and protein content. Conclusions: Streptomyces clavuligerus uses olive oil as the sole carbon and energy source for growth and clavulanic acid production. Yields and production rates in olive oil are comparable to those reported for oil-containing complex media. Differences in yields and in the macromolecular composition indicate that different metabolic pathways convert substrate into product. Significance and impact of the study:  This is the first report of oils being used as the sole carbon source by Strep. clavuligerus. Apart from economic benefits, interesting questions are raised about Strep. clavuligerus physiology. Defined culture media allow physiological studies to be performed in the absence of interference by other compounds. Understanding how Strep. clavuligerus catabolises oils may have an economic impact in clavulanic acid production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2058-2064
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number6
Early online date21 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • carbon source
  • clavulanic acid
  • glycerol
  • lipids
  • macromolecular composition
  • olive oil
  • Streptomyces clavuligerus

Cite this