Clostridium beijerincki NCIMB 8052
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*Photograph: Lou Ann Miller and Scott Robinson, University of Illinois

Basic facts about Clostridium beijerinckii NCIMB 8052
C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 is a saccharolytic, strictly anaerobic, mesophylic, motile, rod-shaped bacteria with oval, sub-terminal spores. It exhibits peritrichous flagella. During fermentation, C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 produces a number of products including acetate, butyrate, lactate, hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide, acetone, butanol, ethanol, acetoin and acetyl methyl carbonil. The morphology of the cell changes over the growth cycle of the organism; at early exponential phase, the cells are long, filamentous and very motile. As the culture approaches the solventogenic stage, which corresponds with the stationary phase, cells shorten, become plumper and exhibit a lower level of motility (Jones and Woods, 1986). C. beijerinckii species are ubiquitous in nature and routinely isolated from soil samples (O'Brian and Morris, 1971).

Motivation behind sequencing
C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 has great biotechnological potential for the production of butanol, acetone, and/or isopropanol because of its broad substrate range (pentoses, hexoses, starch, and others), its sustained production of solvents well into log-phase, its stability with respects to strain degeneration and the adaptability it shows to continuous processes. Pilot plant studies confirmed that C. beijerinckii BA101 grows well and is easy to handle in simple, inexpensive media that is realistic for industrial use. C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 has also shown responsiveness for genetic improvement. The exceptional solvent productivity of the strain Clostridium beijerinckii BA101, produced after only one episode of mutagenesis, has demonstrated the enormous potential of derivatives of C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 in solvent production (Annous and Blaschek, 1991).

The sequence of C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 will make possible the application of DNA microarrays for gene expression profiling and comparative genomics in order to understand the phenotypic differences apparent between C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 and other important saccharolytic strains, such as C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824. That may lead to the unraveling of the general principles of saccharide utilization and solvent production and therefore, to rational approaches to strain construction and optimization of the acetone-butanol fermentation.

The photograph was made using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The preparation of SEM samples was done by Lou Ann Miller (College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois). The protocol used for SEM sample preparation is described in:

SEM was performed by Scott Robinson from the Imaging Technology Group (ITG) located in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois ( ). The scale of the photograph is 25600 X.