Vanillin is one of the world's most important flavor and fragrance compounds in foods and cosmetics. Recently, we demonstrated that vanillin could be produced from ferulic acid via 4-vinylguaiacol in a coenzyme-independent manner using the decarboxylase Fdc and the oxygenase Cso2. In this study, we investigated a new two-pot bioprocess for vanillin production using the whole-cell catalyst of Escherichia coli expressing Fdc in the first stage and that of E. coli expressing Cso2 in the second stage. We first optimized the second-step Cso2 reaction from 4-vinylguaiacol to vanillin, a rate-determining step for the production of vanillin. Addition of FeCl2 to the cultivation medium enhanced the activity of the resulting E. coli cells expressing Cso2, an iron protein belonging to the carotenoid cleavage oxygenase family. Furthermore, a butyl acetate-water biphasic system was effective in improving the production of vanillin. Under the optimized conditions, we attempted to produce vanillin from ferulic acid by a two-pot bioprocess on a flask scale. In the first stage, E. coli cells expressing Fdc rapidly decarboxylated ferulic acid and completely converted 75mM of this substrate to 4-vinylguaiacol within 2h at pH 9.0. After the first-stage reaction, cells were removed from the reaction mixture by centrifugation, and the pH of the resulting supernatant was adjusted to 10.5, the optimal pH for Cso2. This solution was subjected to the second-stage reaction. In the second stage, E. coli cells expressing Cso2 efficiently oxidized 4-vinylguaiacol to vanillin. The concentration of vanillin reached 52mM (7.8gL-1) in 24h, which is the highest level attained to date for the biotechnological production of vanillin using recombinant cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology