Renewable fatty acid ester production in Clostridium

Bioproduction of renewable chemicals is considered as an urgent solution for fossil energy crisis. However, despite tremendous efforts, it is still challenging to generate microbial strains that can produce target biochemical to high levels. Here, we report an example of biosynthesis of high-value and easy-recoverable derivatives built upon natural microbial pathways, leading to improvement in bioproduction efficiency. By leveraging pathways in solventogenic clostridia for co-producing acyl-CoAs, acids and alcohols as precursors, through rational screening for host strains and enzymes, systematic metabolic engineering-including elimination of putative prophages, we develop strains that can produce 20.3 g/L butyl acetate and 1.6 g/L butyl butyrate.

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Fig: Engineering of solventogenic clostridia for fatty acid ester production

Techno-economic analysis results suggest the economic competitiveness of our developed bioprocess. Our principles of selecting the most appropriate host for specific bioproduction and engineering microbial chassis to produce high-value and easy-separable end products may be applicable to other bioprocesses.

Feng, J., Zhang, J., Ma, Y. et al. Renewable fatty acid ester production in ClostridiumNat Commun 12, 4368 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24038-3

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