Synthesis of high-titer alka(e)nes in Yarrowia lipolytica is enabled by a discovered mechanism

Jingbo Li, Yongshuo Ma, Nian Liu, Bekir E. Eser, Zheng Guo, Peter Ruhdal Jensen, Gregory Stephanopoulos*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Alka(e)nes are ideal fuel components for aviation, long-distance transport, and shipping. They are typically derived from fossil fuels and accounting for 24% of difficult-to-eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. The synthesis of alka(e)nes in Yarrowia lipolytica from CO2-neutral feedstocks represents an attractive alternative. Here we report that the high-titer synthesis of alka(e)nes in Yarrowia lipolytica harboring a fatty acid photodecarboxylase (CvFAP) is enabled by a discovered pathway. We find that acyl-CoAs, rather than free fatty acids (FFAs), are the preferred substrate for CvFAP. This finding allows us to debottleneck the pathway and optimize fermentation conditions so that we are able to redirect 89% of acyl-CoAs from the synthesis of neutral lipids to alka(e)nes and reach titers of 1.47 g/L from glucose. Two other CO2-derived substrates, wheat straw and acetate, are also demonstrated to be effective in producing alka(e)nes. Overall, our technology could advance net-zero emissions by providing CO2-neutral and energy-dense liquid biofuels.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6198
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
Issue number1
Number of pages13
ISSN2041-1723
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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