FURI | Spring 2024

Engineering C. glutamicum to Improve b-ketoadipate Pathway Productivity

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With over 50 million tons of lignin generated as waste annually, lignin is seen as the most abundant renewable feedstock for aromatic molecules. Through chemical pretreatment, lignin is broken into two major aromatics, p-coumarate and trans-ferulate. Corynebacterium glutamicum is tolerant to these otherwise toxic aromatic molecules and is capable of metabolizing the aromatics. By utilizing the native pathway in C. glutamicum, along with genetic modifications for optimization, the biomanufacturing of beta-ketoadipate can be enhanced. This project will focus on engineering C. glutamicum to improve productivity of the beta-ketoadipate pathway, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the microbial utilization of lignin-derived substrates.

Student researcher

Tyler Okane

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Santa Clarita, California, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2025