Expanding Upon Styrene Biosynthesis to Engineer a Novel Route to 2‐Phenylethanol

22:39 EDT 11 Aug 2017 | Wiley Biotechnology Journal

2‐Phenylethanol (2PE) is a key molecule used in the fragrance and food industries, as well as a potential biofuel. In contrast to its extraction from plant biomass and/or more common chemical synthesis, microbial 2PE production has been demonstrated via both native and heterologous expression of the yeast Ehrlich pathway. Here, a novel alternative to this established pathway was systematically engineered in Escherichia coli and evaluated as a more robust and efficient route. This novel pathway was constructed via the modular extension of a previously‐engineered styrene biosynthesis pathway, proceeding from endogenous L‐phenylalanine in five steps and involving four heterologous enzymes. This 'styrene‐derived' pathway boasts a ∼10‐fold greater thermodynamic driving force than the Ehrlich pathway, and enables reduced accumulation of acetate byproduct. When directly compared using a host strain engineered for L‐phenylalanine over‐production, preservation of phosphoenolpyruvate, and reduced formation of byproduct 2‐phenylacetic acid, final 2PE titers via the styrene‐derived and Ehrlich pathways reached 1817 and 1164 mg/L, respectively, at yields of 60.6 and 38.8 mg/g. Following optimization of induction timing and initial glucose loading, 2PE titers by the styrene‐derived pathway approached as high as 2 g/L – a ∼2‐fold increase over prior reports for 2PE production by E. coli employing the Ehrlich pathway.

Original Article: Expanding Upon Styrene Biosynthesis to Engineer a Novel Route to 2‐Phenylethanol


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Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism ...