Whole-cell biotransformation is one of the promising alternative approaches to microbial fermentation for producing high-value chemicals. Baeyer–Villiger monooxygenase (BVMO)-based Escherichia coli biocatalysts have been engineered to produce industrially relevant C9 chemicals, such as n-nonanoic acid and 9-hydroxynonanoic acid, from a renewable long-chain fatty acid. The key enzyme in the biotransformation pathway (i.e., BVMO from Pseudomonans putida KT2440) was first engineered, using structure modeling-based design, to improve oxidative and thermal stabilities. Using a stable and tunable plasmid (STAPL) system, E. coli host cells were engineered to have increased plasmid stability and homogeneity of the recombinant E. coli population, as well as to optimize the level of BVMO expression. Multi-level engineering of the key enzyme in host cells, allowed recombinant E. coli expressing a fatty acid double-bond hydratase, a long-chain secondary alcohol dehydrogenase, and the engineered BVMO from P. putida KT2440 (i.e., E6BVMO_C302L/M340L), to ultimately produce C9 chemicals (i.e., n-nonanoic acid and 9-hydroxynonanoic acid) from oleic acid, with a yield of up to 6 mmoL/g dry cells. This yield was 2.4-fold greater than the yield in the control strain before engineering. Therefore, this study will contribute to the development of improved processes for the biosynthesis of industrially relevant medium chain fatty acids via whole-cell biocatalysis.
- Baeyer–Villiger monooxygenase
- Escherichia coli
- Fatty acids
- Gene expression control
- Plasmid copy number