APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Production of oxidized terpenes and of terpene-based bioproducts (e.g. fuel additives, fragrances, insecticides, pharmaceuticals)
- Enables more efficient production of functionalized terpenes
- The functionalization of terpene hydrocarbons using cytochrome P450 enzymes could derive many useful compounds that can be converted to diverse valuable products.
The production of terpenes in the microbial system is considered a more sustainable and stable alternative to isolating terpenes from natural plants or chemical synthesis. To expand the portfolio of bioproducts from biofuel pathways, researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a feasible enzyme fusion strategy to optimize the production of several oxidized terpenes.
The present study involves the linking of terpene synthase with the downstream processing enzyme cytochrome P450. Since terpenes are hydrophobic and easily lost by phase separation or evaporation, enzyme fusions were engineered to improve substrate availability for the downstream processing enzyme. Other advantages of the invention include the elimination of the routine solvent overlay step used to trap terpenes. The use of solvent overlay significantly reduces the availability of terpene as a substrate for the downstream processing reaction. Results for cineole oxidation demonstrated that the fusion enzyme increased hydroxycineole production by 5.4-fold in vitro and 3.1-fold in vivo over non-fused individual enzymes. This strategy was also applied for other terpenes and showed significant improvement of oxidized terpene production.
This technology should fit well with current industry infrastructure and has scale up potential. Ultimately, it enables more efficient production of functionalized terpenes.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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