APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Manufacture of soft plastics
- Offers the possibility to achieve high 4-vinylphenol (4VP) titers from high-substrate batch cultures with minimal intervention
- Higher compatibility of undecanol may increase the number of organisms that can be employed for this and other related processes, which could diversify the range of bioproducts that can be generated
- Enables recovery of pure 4VP via a simple vacuum distillation due to the >40 °C difference in boiling points between 4VP (189-206 °C) and undecanol (243 °C)
- The use of enzymatic methods to convert the lignin-derived compound p-coumaric acid (CA) to the bioplastics precursor 4-vinylphenol (4VP) is documented in the literature and based on the heterologous expression of phenolic acid decarboxylase (PAD) enzymes from Bacillus and Lactobacillus species in E. coli. However, few solvents have been experimentally tested for extraction of 4VP from the aqueous phase, and those that achieve this purpose are toxic to E. coli and are known to be inhibitors of PAD enzyme activity.
Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a novel method to produce 4VP from CA using recombinant bacteria. This approach relates to the valorization of lignin, in which CA is released from corn stover lignin and biologically converted to 4VP.
The results demonstrate for the first time that 1) the producing strains are active in concentrated lignin solutions prepared from a solid lignin-rich corn stover residue when using an undecanol overlay and that 2) 4VP can be produced from the p-coumaric acid (CA) present in those liquors.
Results show that the continuous extraction of 4VP from the liquid phase with an organic undecanol overlay coupled to the use of high initial cell densities led to higher product concentrations, with most of the product being recovered in the organic phase. Under these conditions, the recombinant C. glutamicum phdA-strain produced the highest 4VP titer obtained to date (187 g/L) with a high yield (90%). Compared to a previous method, this present approach released more CA and resulted in 10-fold higher 4VP titers and in 97% of the product extracted in the organic phase. The resulting high titers may help to reduce product purification costs and open the possibility to scale up the production and polymerization of 4VP.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
- Biomass Deconstruction
- Bio-based products