The production phase (methanol feeding) was started after 43 hours of cell growth. The production feed medium consists of 100% methanol and 12 mL/L trace metal solution. Feeding rates were divided into three stages: 6 hr induction, 48 hr in a high-feed-rate stage and 44 hr in a low-feed-rate stage. The feeding rate of the induction stage was ramped from 1 to 10.9 mL/L/hr, which was controlled by the computer program. Feeding rates in the high and low rate stages were 15 and 2 mL/L/hr respectively. The total volume of feed was 2 L. During the fermentation, oxygen demand can be quite high and oxygen was added to the air stream automatically. (Figure 2)
pH is usually adjusted to inhibit the activities of proteinases existing in the culture broth during the production phase. Furthermore, since a host strain that is protease deficient was used, it was not necessary to change the pH level when culture was shifted from cell growth phase to production phase. It has been found that pH 5 is the optimal for cell metabolism and cell growth and that the oxygen consumption rate is higher at that pH. Using this protocol, optical densities of up to 630 can be obtained. Protein expression, of course, varies with the particular protein being expressed.
Although not without problems related to its culture, P. pastoris culture protocols are scalable and have become a powerful tool for the production of commercially valuable proteins.
More information on P. pastoris culture (expression vectors, protocols, etc.) can be obtained from Invitrogen, Inc., Carlsbad, CA and from Pichia Protocols published by Humana Press and edited by David R. Higgins and James M. Cregg
Figure 1: BioFlo 3000 fermentor with supervisory control system.
Figure 2: Pure oxygen s