Production of jet fuel precursor monoterpenoids from engineered Escherichia coli

Daniel Mendez-Perez, Jorge Alonso-Gutierrez, Qijun Hu, Margaux Molinas, Edward E. K. Baidoo, George Wang, Leanne J. G. Chan, Paul D. Adams, Christopher J. Petzold, Jay D. Keasling, Taek S. Lee

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Monoterpenes (C10 isoprenoids) are the main components of essential oils and are possible precursors for many commodity chemicals and high energy density fuels. Monoterpenes are synthesized from geranyl diphosphate (GPP), which is also the precursor for the biosynthesis of farnesyl diphosphate (FPP). FPP biosynthesis diverts the carbon flux from monoterpene production to C15 products and quinone biosynthesis. In this study, we tested a chromosomal mutation of Escherichia coli's native FPP synthase (IspA) to improve GPP availability for the production of monoterpenes using a heterologous mevalonate pathway. Monoterpene production at high levels required not only optimization of GPP production but also a basal level of FPP to maintain growth. The optimized strains produced two jet fuel precursor monoterpenoids 1,8-cineole and linalool at the titer of 653mg/L and 505mg/L, respectively, in batch cultures with 1% glucose. The engineered strains developed in this work provide useful resources for the production of high-value monoterpenes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1703-1712
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Monoterpenes
  • Jet fuel
  • Metabolic engineering
  • 1 ,8-cineole
  • Linalool
  • Mevalonate pathway


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