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Title: Synthetic Design of Microorganisms for Lignin Fuel

Abstract

Despite the proof-of-the-concept for lignin bioconversion at the time when the project was first funded, the conversion efficiency and titer were extremely low for bioconversion of lignin into lipid. The low conversion efficiency is due the inherent recalcitrance of lignin and limited understanding of lignin chemistry. In nature, lignin is a complex aromatic heteropolymer composed of phenylpropane units cross-linked via a variety of chemically stable bonds, which makes it particularly difficult for microbial degradation. In addition to the recalcitrance, lignin as a biorefinery waste is also highly heterogeneous in terms of chemical linkage abundance, functional group distribution, molecular weight and uniformity. In order to achieve better lignin bioconversion, it is critical to understand how lignin chemistry impacts the conversion performance. Throughout the project, we have clearly found that ‘not all lignin are created equal’, in particular, for the lignin out of different biochemical conversion processes. In addition, we have clearly shown that lignin chemistry defines its functionality and processiblity for bioconversion. In particular, the S/G/H ratio, functional groups, chemical linkages and molecular weight defines the reactivity of lignin during bioconversion. Throughout the project, we have advanced the understanding for the impact of lignin chemistry on reactivity, developed a series ofmore » lignin 3 fractionation technologies to improve lignin processibility, and ultimately advanced biorefinery design holistically for simultaneous optimization of carbohydrate release and lignin reactivity. In addition to lignin reactivity, another important consideration for lignin bioconversion is the available microbial strains for bioconversion. Natural biomass utilization systems evolved mechanisms for lignin degradation, often with at least three sequential steps: lignin depolymerization into aromatic compounds, subsequent degradation of aromatic compounds into common intermediates like acetyl-CoA, and eventually the conversion of central metabolites into target bioproducts like lipid and PHA. Extensive work has gone into understanding the mechanisms of lignin depolymerization in model systems such as white rot fungi and termites. Despite interest, no fungus-based commercial process for lignin depolymerization has been developed, due in large part to the practical challenges of fungal genetic manipulations. In addition to white rot fungi, a few members of the Actinobacteria, α-Proteobacteria, and γ-Proteobacteria (including Rhodococcus putida) have lignin degradation activity in vitro. However, most of lignindegrading bacteria has very low lignin conversion efficiency, in particular, for lignin depolymerization. The project focused on addressing the issue with systems biology-guided microbial design to improve lignin bioconversion. The project first established that laccase enzyme can synergize with bacteria to promote lignin depolymerization, and further utilized synthetic biology approach to designed functional modules for lignin depolymerization, aromatic compound utilization, and bioproduct accumulation. The integration of biorefinery design, synthetic biology, and fermentation optimization eventually allowed us to achieve the target yield of 10g/L lipid production from lignin-containing biorefinery waste. In this summary, we hereby briefly review the major discoveries from the project with reference to different sections of this report.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1472013
Report Number(s):
EE0006112
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0006112
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Yuan, Joshua S., Ragauskas, Arthur, and Liu, Zhihua. Synthetic Design of Microorganisms for Lignin Fuel. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1472013.
Yuan, Joshua S., Ragauskas, Arthur, & Liu, Zhihua. Synthetic Design of Microorganisms for Lignin Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/1472013.
Yuan, Joshua S., Ragauskas, Arthur, and Liu, Zhihua. Fri . "Synthetic Design of Microorganisms for Lignin Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/1472013. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1472013.
@article{osti_1472013,
title = {Synthetic Design of Microorganisms for Lignin Fuel},
author = {Yuan, Joshua S. and Ragauskas, Arthur and Liu, Zhihua},
abstractNote = {Despite the proof-of-the-concept for lignin bioconversion at the time when the project was first funded, the conversion efficiency and titer were extremely low for bioconversion of lignin into lipid. The low conversion efficiency is due the inherent recalcitrance of lignin and limited understanding of lignin chemistry. In nature, lignin is a complex aromatic heteropolymer composed of phenylpropane units cross-linked via a variety of chemically stable bonds, which makes it particularly difficult for microbial degradation. In addition to the recalcitrance, lignin as a biorefinery waste is also highly heterogeneous in terms of chemical linkage abundance, functional group distribution, molecular weight and uniformity. In order to achieve better lignin bioconversion, it is critical to understand how lignin chemistry impacts the conversion performance. Throughout the project, we have clearly found that ‘not all lignin are created equal’, in particular, for the lignin out of different biochemical conversion processes. In addition, we have clearly shown that lignin chemistry defines its functionality and processiblity for bioconversion. In particular, the S/G/H ratio, functional groups, chemical linkages and molecular weight defines the reactivity of lignin during bioconversion. Throughout the project, we have advanced the understanding for the impact of lignin chemistry on reactivity, developed a series of lignin 3 fractionation technologies to improve lignin processibility, and ultimately advanced biorefinery design holistically for simultaneous optimization of carbohydrate release and lignin reactivity. In addition to lignin reactivity, another important consideration for lignin bioconversion is the available microbial strains for bioconversion. Natural biomass utilization systems evolved mechanisms for lignin degradation, often with at least three sequential steps: lignin depolymerization into aromatic compounds, subsequent degradation of aromatic compounds into common intermediates like acetyl-CoA, and eventually the conversion of central metabolites into target bioproducts like lipid and PHA. Extensive work has gone into understanding the mechanisms of lignin depolymerization in model systems such as white rot fungi and termites. Despite interest, no fungus-based commercial process for lignin depolymerization has been developed, due in large part to the practical challenges of fungal genetic manipulations. In addition to white rot fungi, a few members of the Actinobacteria, α-Proteobacteria, and γ-Proteobacteria (including Rhodococcus putida) have lignin degradation activity in vitro. However, most of lignindegrading bacteria has very low lignin conversion efficiency, in particular, for lignin depolymerization. The project focused on addressing the issue with systems biology-guided microbial design to improve lignin bioconversion. The project first established that laccase enzyme can synergize with bacteria to promote lignin depolymerization, and further utilized synthetic biology approach to designed functional modules for lignin depolymerization, aromatic compound utilization, and bioproduct accumulation. The integration of biorefinery design, synthetic biology, and fermentation optimization eventually allowed us to achieve the target yield of 10g/L lipid production from lignin-containing biorefinery waste. In this summary, we hereby briefly review the major discoveries from the project with reference to different sections of this report.},
doi = {10.2172/1472013},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {3}
}