Alkane and wax ester production from lignin-related aromatic compounds

Milla Salmela, Tapio Lehtinen, Elena Efimova, Suvi Santala, Ville Santala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Lignin has potential as a sustainable feedstock for microbial production of industrially relevant molecules. However, the required lignin depolymerization yields a heterogenic mixture of aromatic monomers that are challenging substrates for the microorganisms commonly used in the industry. Here, we investigated the properties of lignin-related aromatic compounds (LRAs), namely coumarate, ferulate, and caffeate, in the synthesis of biomass and products in an LRA-utilizing bacterial host Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1. The biosynthesis products, wax esters, and alkanes are relevant compounds for the chemical and fuel industries. Here, wax esters were produced by a native pathway of ADP1, whereas alkanes were produced by a synthetic pathway introduced to the host. Using individual LRAs as substrates, the growth and product formation were monitored with internal biosensors and off-line analytics. Of the tested LRAs, coumarate was the most propitious in terms of product synthesis. Wax esters were produced from coumarate with yield and titer of 37 mg/gcoumarate and 202 mg/L, whereas alkanes were produced with a yield of 62.3 µg /gcoumarate and titer of 152 µg/L. This study demonstrates the microbial preference for certain LRAs and highlights the potential of A. baylyi ADP1 as a host for LRA upgrading to value-added products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1934-1945
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1
  • alkane
  • lignin
  • wax ester

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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