Renewable fatty acid ester production in Clostridium

Jun Feng, Jie Zhang, Yuechao Ma, Yiming Feng, Shangjun Wang, Na Guo, Haijiao Wang, Pixiang Wang, Pablo Jiménez-Bonilla, Yanyan Gu, Junping Zhou, Zhong Tian Zhang, Mingfeng Cao, Di Jiang, Shuning Wang, Xian Wei Liu, Zengyi Shao, Ilya Borovok, Haibo Huang*, Yi Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Bioproduction of renewable chemicals is considered as an urgent solution for fossil energy crisis. However, despite tremendous efforts, it is still challenging to generate microbial strains that can produce target biochemical to high levels. Here, we report an example of biosynthesis of high-value and easy-recoverable derivatives built upon natural microbial pathways, leading to improvement in bioproduction efficiency. By leveraging pathways in solventogenic clostridia for co-producing acyl-CoAs, acids and alcohols as precursors, through rational screening for host strains and enzymes, systematic metabolic engineering-including elimination of putative prophages, we develop strains that can produce 20.3 g/L butyl acetate and 1.6 g/L butyl butyrate. Techno-economic analysis results suggest the economic competitiveness of our developed bioprocess. Our principles of selecting the most appropriate host for specific bioproduction and engineering microbial chassis to produce high-value and easy-separable end products may be applicable to other bioprocesses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4368
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


FundersFunder number
U.S. Department of Energy
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable EnergyDE-EE0008483, 2018-67021-27715
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Auburn University
Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station


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