Conversion of Levoglucosan and Cellobiosan by Pseudomonas putida KT2440

Jeffrey Linger, Sarah Hobdey, Mary Franden, Gregg Beckham, Emily Fulk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus Citations


Pyrolysis offers a straightforward approach for the deconstruction of plant cell wall polymers into bio-oil. Recently, there has been substantial interest in bio-oil fractionation and subsequent use of biological approaches to selectively upgrade some of the resulting fractions. A fraction of particular interest for biological upgrading consists of polysaccharide-derived substrates including sugars and sugar dehydration products such as levoglucosan and cellobiosan, which are two of the most abundant pyrolysis products of cellulose. Levoglucosan can be converted to glucose-6-phosphate through the use of a levoglucosan kinase (LGK), but to date, the mechanism for cellobiosan utilization has not been demonstrated. Here, we engineer the microbe Pseudomonas putida KT2440 to use levoglucosan as a sole carbon and energy source through LGK integration. Moreover, we demonstrate that cellobiosan can be enzymatically converted to levoglucosan and glucose with β-glucosidase enzymes from both Glycoside Hydrolase Family 1 and Family 3. β-glucosidases are commonly used in both natural and industrial cellulase cocktails to convert cellobiose to glucose to relieve cellulase product inhibition and to facilitate microbial uptake of glucose. Using an exogenous β-glucosidase, we demonstrate that the engineered strain of P. putida can grow on levoglucosan up to 60 g/L and can also utilize cellobiosan. Overall, this study elucidates the biological pathway to co-utilize levoglucosan and cellobiosan, which will be a key transformation for the biological upgrading of pyrolysis-derived substrates.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalMetabolic Engineering Communications
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Metabolic Engineering Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-65971


  • B-glucosidase
  • Biofuels
  • Cellobiosan
  • Levoglucosan kinase
  • Pseudomonas putida KT2440
  • Pyrolysis


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