471627 A Microbial Factory for Sustainable Production of Polymer Precursors: Chain Length-Specified ω‑Hydroxy Fatty Acids and α,ω-Dicarboxylic Acids

Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 1:42 PM
Continental 9 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Christopher Bowen, Washington University, St. Louis, MO and Fuzhong Zhang, Department of Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

In the hope of advancing sustainable plastic production, great progress has been made toward efficient microbial conversion of renewable feedstock to short-chain (C2-C8), bifunctional polymer precursors (e.g. succinic acid, cadaverine, 1,4-butanediol). Relatively little attention has been given to medium-chain (C12-C14) monomers such as ω-hydroxy fatty acids (ω-OHFAs) and α,ω-dicarboxylic acids (α,ω-DCAs), which nonetheless are precursors to high performance polyesters and polyamides. In our work, we are engineering complete microbial conversions of glucose to various medium chain ω-OHFAs and α,ω-DCAs, with precise control of product chain length. We combine bioinformatics and in vivo production to screen a wide range of enzymes across phyla and identify combinations that yield complete conversion of intermediates to product α,ω- DCAs. This approach, coupled with optimization of culture conditions has allowed us to achieve near g/L titers of specific medium chain α,ω- DCAs. In particular, our results indicate potential for this microbial factory to enable commercially relevant, renewable production of C12 α,ω- DCA – a valuable precursor to the high-performance plastic nylon-6,12.

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