Biosynthesis of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) (P(HB-co-HHx)) from butyrate using engineered Ralstonia eutropha

Jong-Min Jeon, Christopher J Brigham, Yong-Hyun Kim, Hyun-Joong Kim, Da-Hye Yi, Hyungsup Kim, ChoKyun Rha, Anthony J Sinskey, Yung-Hun Yang
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2014, 98 (12): 5461-9
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a promising family of bio-based polymers, are considered to be alternatives to traditional petroleum-based plastics. Copolymers like poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) (P(HB-co-HHx)) have been shown to exhibit favorable physical and mechanical properties, due to decreased crystallinity resulting from the presence of medium-chain-length 3-hydroxyhexanoate (3HHx) monomers. In this study, we produced P(HB-co-HHx) using engineered Ralstonia eutropha strains containing deletions of the acetoacetyl-CoA reductase (phaB) genes and replacing the native PHA synthase with phaC2 from Rhodococcus aetherivorans I24 and by using butyrate, a short-chain organic acid, as the carbon source. Although the wild-type R. eutropha did not produce P(HB-co-HHx) when grown on mixed acids or on butyrate as the sole carbon source, we are able to produce polymer containing up to 40 wt% 3HHx monomer with the aforementioned engineered R. eutropha strains using various concentrations of just butyrate as the sole carbon source. This is the first report for the production of P(HB-co-HHx) copolymer in R. eutropha using butyrate.

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