Engineering an Obligate Photoautotrophic Cyanobacterium to Utilize Glycerol for Growth and Chemical Production
Cyanobacteria have attracted much attention as a means to directly recycle carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals that are currently produced from petroleum. However, the titers and productivities achieved are still far below the level required in industry. To make a more industrially applicable production scheme, glycerol, a byproduct of biodiesel production, can be used as an additional carbon source for photomixotrophic chemical production. Glycerol is an ideal candidate due to its availability and low cost. In this study, we found that a heterologous glycerol respiratory pathway enabled Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 to utilize extracellular glycerol. The engineered strain produced 761 mg/L of 2,3-butanediol in 48 h with a 290% increase over the control strain under continuous light conditions. Glycerol supplementation also allowed for continuous cell growth and 2,3-butanediol production in diurnal light conditions. These results highlight the potential of glycerol as an additional carbon source for photomixotrophic chemical production in cyanobacteria. Graphic Abstract ACS Electronic Supporting Info
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