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Metabolic engineering of Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824 for isopropanol-butanol-ethanol fermentation

Metabolic engineering of Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824 for isopropanol-butanol-ethanol fermentation

Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78(5): 1416-1423

Clostridium acetobutylicum naturally produces acetone as well as butanol and ethanol. Since acetone cannot be used as a biofuel, its production needs to be minimized or suppressed by cell or bioreactor engineering. Thus, there have been attempts to disrupt or inactivate the acetone formation pathway. Here we present another approach, namely, converting acetone to isopropanol by metabolic engineering. Since isopropanol can be used as a fuel additive, the mixture of isopropanol, butanol, and ethanol (IBE) produced by engineered C. acetobutylicum can be directly used as a biofuel. IBE production is achieved by the expression of a primary/secondary alcohol dehydrogenase gene from Clostridium beijerinckii NRRL B-593 (i.e., adhB-593) in C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824. To increase the total alcohol titer, a synthetic acetone operon (act operon; adc-ctfA-ctfB) was constructed and expressed to increase the flux toward isopropanol formation. When this engineering strategy was applied to the PJC4BK strain lacking in the buk gene (encoding butyrate kinase), a significantly higher titer and yield of IBE could be achieved. The resulting PJC4BK(pIPA3-Cm2) strain produced 2.4 g/liter of total alcohol. Fermentation could be prolonged by in situ removal of solvents by gas stripping, and 35.6 g/liter of the IBE mixture could be produced in 45 h.

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Accession: 036338495

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PMID: 22210214

DOI: 10.1128/AEM.06382-11

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