[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interest in producing biofuels from renewable sources has escalated due to energy and environmental concerns. Recently, the production of higher chain alcohols from 2-keto acid pathways has shown significant progress. In this paper, we demonstrate a mutagenesis approach in developing a strain of Escherichia coli for the production of 3-methyl-1-butanol by leveraging selective pressure toward L-leucine biosynthesis and screening for increased alcohol production. Random mutagenesis and selection with 4-aza-D,L-leucine, a structural analogue to L-leucine, resulted in the development of a new strain of E. coli able to produce 4.4 g/L of 3-methyl-1-butanol. Investigation of the host's sensitivity to 3-methyl-1-butanol directed development of a two-phase fermentation process in which titers reached 9.5 g/L of 3-methyl-1-butanol with a yield of 0.11 g/g glucose after 60 h.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 04/2010; 86(4):1155-64. · 3.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The biological production of fuels from renewable sources has been regarded as a feasible solution to the energy and environmental problems in the foreseeable future. Recently, the biofuel product spectrum has expanded from ethanol and fatty acid methyl esters (biodiesel) to other molecules, such as higher alcohols and alkanes, with more desirable fuel properties. In general, biosynthesis of these fuel molecules can be divided into two phases: carbon chain elongation and functional modification. In addition to natural fatty acid and isoprenoid chain elongation pathways, keto acid-based chain elongation followed by decarboxylation and reduction has been explored for higher alcohol production. Other issues such as metabolic balance, strain robustness, and industrial production process efficiency have also been addressed. These successes may provide both scientific insights into and practical applications toward the ultimate goal of sustainable fuel production.
Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 01/2010; 1:19-36. · 7.51 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pentanol isomers such as 2-methyl-1-butanol and 3-methyl-1-butanol are a useful class of chemicals with a potential application as biofuels. They are found as natural by-products of microbial fermentations from amino acid substrates. However, the production titer and yield of the natural processes are too low to be considered for practical applications. Through metabolic engineering, microbial strains for the production of these isomers have been developed, as well as that for 1-pentanol and pentenol. Although the current production levels are still too low for immediate industrial applications, the approach holds significant promise for major breakthroughs in production efficiency.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 10/2009; 85(4):893-9. · 3.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent progress has been made in the production of higher alcohols by harnessing the power of natural amino acid biosynthetic pathways. Here, we describe the first strain of Escherichia coli developed to produce the higher alcohol and potential new biofuel 2-methyl-1-butanol (2MB). To accomplish this, we explored the biodiversity of enzymes catalyzing key parts of the isoleucine biosynthetic pathway, finding that AHAS II (ilvGM) from Salmonella typhimurium and threonine deaminase (ilvA) from Corynebacterium glutamicum improve 2MB production the most. Overexpression of the native threonine biosynthetic operon (thrABC) on plasmid without the native transcription regulation also improved 2MB production in E. coli. Finally, we knocked out competing pathways upstream of threonine production (DeltametA, Deltatdh) to increase its availability for further improvement of 2MB production. This work led to a strain of E. coli that produces 1.25 g/L 2MB in 24 h, a total alcohol content of 3 g/L, and with yields of up to 0.17 g 2MB/g glucose.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 09/2008; 81(1):89-98. · 3.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compared to ethanol, butanol offers many advantages as a substitute for gasoline because of higher energy content and higher hydrophobicity. Typically, 1-butanol is produced by Clostridium in a mixed-product fermentation. To facilitate strain improvement for specificity and productivity, we engineered a synthetic pathway in Escherichia coli and demonstrated the production of 1-butanol from this non-native user-friendly host. Alternative genes and competing pathway deletions were evaluated for 1-butanol production. Results show promise for using E. coli for 1-butanol production.