Production of C5 carboxylic acids in engineered Escherichia coli

Yogesh K. Dhande, Mingyong Xiong, Kechun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Valeric acid and 2-methylbutyric acid serve as chemical intermediates for a variety of applications such as plasticizers, lubricants and pharmaceuticals. The commercial process for their production uses toxic intermediates like synthesis gas and relies on non-renewable petroleum-based feedstock. In this work, synthetic metabolic pathways were constructed in Escherichia coli for the renewable production of these chemicals directly from glucose. The native leucine and isoleucine biosynthetic pathways in E. coli were expanded for the synthesis of valeric acid and 2-methylbutyric acid (2MB) respectively by the introduction of aldehyde dehydrogenases and 2-ketoacid decarboxylases. Various aldehyde dehydrogenases and 2-ketoacid decarboxylases were investigated for their activities in the constructed pathways. Highest titers of 2.59 g/L for 2-mthylbutyric acid and 2.58 g/L for valeric acid were achieved in shake flask experiments through optimal combinations of these enzymes. This work demonstrates the feasibility of renewable production of these high volume aliphatic carboxylic acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1965-1971
Number of pages7
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by start-up funds from the University of Minnesota .


  • Valeric acid, 2-methylbutyric acid, Escherichia coli


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