FURI | Spring 2020

Biosynthesis of Ethyl Lactate with Escherichia coli as a microbial host

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Ethyl lactate is a common green solvent (listed by DOE), currently derived industrially from petrochemicals. Biosynthesis of ethyl lactate would further increase its sustainability if, for example, obtained from E. coli. Four different sets of genes were selected for ethanol synthesis, lactic acid synthesis, esterase, and acyl alcohol transferase. Genes for ester synthesis were derived from different microbial sources. Plasmids were constructed in pET15b and cloned in E. coli BL21-DE3 with ethanol producing plasmid (pACYDuet). Cells were cultivated with high-cell density in M9 medium; supernatants were analyzed through HPLC (for ethanol and lactate) and GC-MS (for esters).

Student researcher

Mark Nguyen

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Trabuco Canyon, California, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2020