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In-situ muconic acid extraction reveals sugar consumption bottleneck in a xylose-utilizing Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

BACKGROUND: The current shift from a fossil-resource based economy to a more sustainable, bio-based economy requires development of alternative production routes based on utilization of biomass for the many chemicals that are currently produced from petroleum. Muconic acid is an attractive platform chemical for the bio-based economy because it can be converted in chemicals with wide industrial applicability, such as adipic and terephthalic acid, and because its two double bonds offer great versatility for chemical modification. RESULTS: We have constructed a yeast cell factory converting glucose and xylose into muconic acid without formation of ethanol. We consecutively eliminated feedback inhibition in the shikimate pathway, inserted the heterologous pathway for muconic acid biosynthesis from 3-dehydroshikimate (DHS) by co-expression of DHS dehydratase from P. anserina, protocatechuic acid (PCA) decarboxylase (PCAD) from K. pneumoniae and oxygen-consuming catechol 1,2-dioxygenase (CDO) from C. albicans, eliminated ethanol production by deletion of the three PDC genes and minimized PCA production by enhancing PCAD overexpression and production of its co-factor. The yeast pitching rate was increased to lower high biomass formation caused by the compulsory aerobic conditions. Maximal titers of 4 g/L, 4.5 g/L and 3.8 g/L muconic acid were reached with glucose, xylose, and a mixture, respectively. The use of an elevated initial sugar level, resulting in muconic acid titers above 2.5 g/L, caused stuck fermentations with incomplete utilization of the sugar. Application of polypropylene glycol 4000 (PPG) as solvent for in situ product removal during the fermentation shows that this is not due to toxicity by the muconic acid produced. CONCLUSIONS: This work has developed an industrial yeast strain able to produce muconic acid from glucose and also with great efficiency from xylose, without any ethanol production, minimal production of PCA and reaching the highest titers in batch fermentation reported up to now. Utilization of higher sugar levels remained conspicuously incomplete. Since this was not due to product inhibition by muconic acid or to loss of viability, an unknown, possibly metabolic bottleneck apparently arises during muconic acid fermentation with high sugar levels and blocks further sugar utilization.
Journal: Microbial Cell Factories
ISSN: 1475-2859
Issue: 1
Volume: 20