Lignin Conversion to ..beta..-Ketoadipic Acid by Pseudomonas putida via Metabolic Engineering and Bioprocess Development

Allison Werner, William Cordell, Ciaran Lahive, Bruno Klein, Christine Singer, Eric Tan, Morgan Ingraham, Kelsey Ramirez, Dong Hyun Kim, Jacob Pedersen, Christopher Johnson, Brian Pfleger, Gregg Beckham, Davinia Salvachua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


Bioconversion of a heterogeneous mixture of lignin-related aromatic compounds (LRCs) to a single product via microbial biocatalysts is a promising approach to valorize lignin. Here, Pseudomonas putida KT2440 was engineered to convert mixed p-coumaroyl– and coniferyl-type LRCs to β-ketoadipic acid, a precursor for performance-advantaged polymers. Expression of enzymes mediating aromatic O-demethylation, hydroxylation, and ring-opening steps was tuned, and a global regulator was deleted. β-ketoadipate titers of 44.5 and 25 grams per liter and productivities of 1.15 and 0.66 grams per liter per hour were achieved from model LRCs and corn stover-derived LRCs, respectively, the latter representing an overall yield of 0.10 grams per gram corn stover-derived lignin. Technoeconomic analysis of the bioprocess and downstream processing predicted a β-ketoadipate minimum selling price of $2.01 per kilogram, which is cost competitive with fossil carbon-derived adipic acid ($1.10 to 1.80 per kilogram). Overall, this work achieved bioproduction metrics with economic relevance for conversion of lignin-derived streams into a performance-advantaged bioproduct.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbereadj0053
Number of pages15
JournalScience Advances
Issue number36
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 The Authors, some rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2A00-86909


  • ..beta..ketoadipic acid
  • bioconversion
  • bioproduct
  • lignin valorization


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