Efficient biosynthesis of fatty acid derivatives from methanol (2022-07-13)


Methanol-based biorefinery is a promising strategy to achieve carbon neutrality goals by linking CO2 capture and solar energy storage. However, challenges still remain in engineering methanol metabolism for chemical overproduction.

Recently, our group realized efficient production of free fatty acids and fatty alcohols from methanol in Pichia pastoris. This work was published in PNAS on 11th, July.

Overproduction of chemicals and the cytotoxicity of formaldehyde can bring double stress on yeast, and then affect the performance of microbial cell factories. In this study, we globally rewired the central metabolism and methanol utilization for efficient production of free fatty acids (FFAs, 23.4 g/L) from methanol. In addition, metabolically transforming the fatty acid cell factory enabled overproduction of fatty alcohols (2.0 g/L) from methanol.

This study represents an important step toward rewiring of P. pastorisas industrial microbial cell factories for chemical production from methanol. It also provides an effective approach for rapidly constructing versatile cell factories for production of a variety of chemicals that share common precursors.

The study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Key Research and Development Program of China, and the Innovation Grant from DICP. (Text and Image by Peng Cai)