Metabolic and process engineering for microbial production of protocatechuate with Corynebacterium glutamicum

Mohamed Labib, Jonas Görtz, Christian Brüsseler, Nicolai Kallscheuer, Jochem Gätgens, Andreas Jupke, Jan Marienhagen, Stephan Noack*

*Corresponding author for this work


3,4-Dihydroxybenzoate (protocatechuate, PCA) is a phenolic compound naturally found in edible vegetables and medicinal herbs. PCA is of high interest in the chemical industry and has wide potential for pharmaceutical applications. We designed and constructed a novel Corynebacterium glutamicum strain to enable the efficient utilization of d-xylose for microbial production of PCA. Shake flask cultivation of the engineered strain showed a maximum PCA titer of 62.1 ± 12.1 mM (9.6 ± 1.9 g L-1 ) from d-xylose as the primary carbon and energy source. The corresponding yield was 0.33 C-mol PCA per C-mol d-xylose, which corresponds to 38% of the maximum theoretical yield. Under growth-decoupled bioreactor conditions, a comparable PCA titer and a total amount of 16.5 ± 1.1 g PCA could be achieved when d-glucose and d-xylose were combined as orthogonal carbon substrates for biocatalyst provision and product synthesis, respectively. Downstream processing of PCA was realized via electrochemically induced crystallization by taking advantage of the pH-dependent properties of PCA. This resulted in a maximum final purity of 95.4%. The established PCA production process represents a highly sustainable approach, which will serve as a blueprint for the bio-based production of other hydroxybenzoic acids from alternative sugar feedstocks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)4414-4427
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 11.2021

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 201-01 Biochemistry


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