Metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli for the utilization of ethanol.
J Biol Res (Thessalon). 2020 Dec;27:1
Authors: Cao Y, Mu H, Guo J, Liu H, Zhang R, Liu W, Xian M, Liu H
Background: The fuel ethanol industry has made tremendous progress in the last decades. Ethanol can be obtained by fermentation using a variety of biomass materials as the feedstocks. However, few studies have been conducted on ethanol utilization by microorganisms. The price of petroleum-derived ethanol, easily made by the hydrolysis of ethylene, is even lower than that of bioethanol. If ethanol can be metabolized by microorganisms to produce value-added chemicals, it will open a new door for the utilization of inexpensive ethanol resources.
Results: We constructed an engineered Escherichia coli strain which could utilize ethanol as the sole carbon source. The alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase from Aspergillus nidulans was introduced into E. coli and the recombinant strain acquired the ability to grow on ethanol. Cell growth continued when ethanol was supplied after glucose starvation and 2.24 g L-1 of ethanol was further consumed during the shake-flasks fermentation process. Then ethanol was further used for the production of mevalonic acid by heterologously expressing its biosynthetic pathway. Deuterium-labeled ethanol-D6 as the feedstock confirmed that mevalonic acid was synthesized from ethanol.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated the possibility of using ethanol as the carbon source by engineered E. coli strains. It can serve as the basis for the construction of more robust strains in the future though the catabolic capacity of ethanol should be further improved.
PMID: 31993378 [PubMed]