Poly-ε-L-lysine is a natural homo-polyamide of L-lysine with excellent antimicrobial properties, which can be used as a novel preservative and has a wide range of applications. In this paper, the fermentation medium for ε-PL production by Streptomyces diastatochromogenes 6#-7 was optimized by Response Surface Methodology. The results of Plackett-Burman design showed that glucose, yeast extract and (NH4)2SO4 were the major influencing factors in ε-PL production of S. diastatochromogenes 6#-7. The optimal concentrations of glucose, yeast extract and (NH4)2SO4 were determined to be 60, 7·5 and 7·5 g l−1 according to Box-Behnken experiment and regression analysis, respectively. Under the optimized conditions, the ε-PL yield in shake-flask fermentation was 0·948 ± 0·030 g l−1, which was in good agreement with the predicted value of 0·970 g l−1. The yield was improved by 43·1% from that with the initial medium. In 5 l jar-fermenter the ε-PL yield reached 25·5 g l−1, which was increased by 56·4% from the original medium. In addition, the fermentation time was reduced from 174 to 120 h.Significance and Impact of the Study:
Medium optimization is a very practical and valuable tool for fermentation industry to improve product yield and minimize by-products as well as reduce overall manufacturing costs. The response surface methodology is not new, but it is still a very effective method in medium optimization research. This study used ε-polylysine fermentation as an example to demonstrate how the product yield can be significantly increased by medium optimization through surface response methodology. Similar approach can be used in other microbial fermentations such as in pharmaceutical, food, agricultural and energy industries. As an example, ε-polylysine is one of a few newly approved natural food-grade antimicrobials for food and beverages preservations. Yield improvement is economically beneficial to not only ε-polylysine manufacturers but also to their users and consumers due to lower costs and price.