Isoprenol (3-methyl-3-buten-1-ol) is a drop-in biofuel and a precursor for commodity chemicals. Biological production of isoprenol via the mevalonate pathway has been developed and optimized extensively in Escherichia coli, but high ATP requirements and isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) toxicity have made it difficult to achieve high titer, yield, and large-scale production. To overcome these limitations, an IPP-bypass pathway was previously developed using the promiscuous activity of diphosphomevalonate decarboxylase, and enabled the production of isoprenol at a comparable yield and titer to the original pathway. In this study, we optimized this pathway, substantially improving isoprenol production. A titer of 3.7 g/L (0.14 g isoprenol per g glucose) was achieved in batch conditions using minimal medium by pathway optimization, and a further optimization of the fed-batch fermentation process enabled an isoprenol titer of 10.8 g/L (yield of 0.105 g/g and maximum productivity of 0.157 g L-1 h-1), which is the highest reported titer for this compound. The substantial increase in isoprenol titer via the IPP-bypass pathway in this study will facilitate progress toward commercialization.
- Mevalonate pathway