Using an A. pullulans metabolic reconstruction to determine gene targets for PMA production optimization

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The Ohio State University

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Poly(β-L-malic acid) (PMA) has broad prospects in industry due to its excellent water solubility, biodegradability, and biocompatibility. It has wide applications in the food, drug and biomedical industry as a novel biopolymeric material. Malic acid is a platform chemical that is normally produced in a racemic mixture of L and D isoforms. However, the D-form has concerns regarding human consumption. Due to this there is extensive interest in creating a bioprocess to produce PMA from renewable biomass. A potential candidate for this bioprocess is Aureobasidium pullulans, a black yeast with a large number of hydrolases capable of breaking down plant material. In the past Aureobasidium pullulans have had genome-scale computer models created in order to analyze PMA and poly-malic acid production. This previously created model will be updated and then tested for accuracy via comparing to other published data. The model will then determine the best gene knockout targets for PMA and poly-malic acid production. The model will be used to randomly knock out genes in-silico and observe PMA output.