A dual cellular–heterogeneous catalyst strategy for the production of olefins from glucose

Zhen Q. Wang, Heng Song, Edward J. Koleski, Noritaka Hara, Dae Sung Park, Gaurav Kumar, Yejin Min, Paul J. Dauenhauer, Michelle C.Y. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Living systems provide a promising approach to chemical synthesis, having been optimized by evolution to convert renewable carbon sources, such as glucose, into an enormous range of small molecules. However, a large number of synthetic structures can still be difficult to obtain solely from cells, such as unsubstituted hydrocarbons. In this work, we demonstrate the use of a dual cellular–heterogeneous catalytic strategy to produce olefins from glucose using a selective hydrolase to generate an activated intermediate that is readily deoxygenated. Using a new family of iterative thiolase enzymes, we genetically engineered a microbial strain that produces 4.3 ± 0.4 g l−1 of fatty acid from glucose with 86% captured as 3-hydroxyoctanoic and 3-hydroxydecanoic acids. This 3-hydroxy substituent serves as a leaving group that enables heterogeneous tandem decarboxylation–dehydration routes to olefinic products on Lewis acidic catalysts without the additional redox input required for enzymatic or chemical deoxygenation of simple fatty acids. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1178-1185
Number of pages8
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the generous support of the National Science Foundation through a CAREER Award (029504-003) to M.C.Y.C. and the Center for Sustainable Polymers, a National Science Foundation-supported Center for Chemical Innovation (CHE-1901635). H.S. acknowledges support from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Postdoctoral Program in Environmental Chemistry. Z.Q.W. also acknowledges the generous support from the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (71272-ZQW).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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