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Recent advances in n-butanol and butyrate production using engineered Clostridium tyrobutyricum

  • Bao, Teng1
  • Feng, Jun2
  • Jiang, Wenyan1
  • Fu, Hongxin2
  • Wang, Jufang2
  • Yang, Shang-Tian1
  • 1 The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA , Columbus (United States)
  • 2 South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, 510006, China , Guangzhou (China)
Published Article
World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Aug 14, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s11274-020-02914-2
Springer Nature


Acidogenic clostridia naturally producing acetic and butyric acids has attracted high interest as a novel host for butyrate and n-butanol production. Among them, Clostridium tyrobutyricum is a hyper butyrate-producing bacterium, which re-assimilates acetate for butyrate biosynthesis by butyryl-CoA/acetate CoA transferase (CoAT), rather than the phosphotransbutyrylase-butyrate kinase (PTB-BK) pathway widely found in clostridia and other microbial species. To date, C. tyrobutyricum has been engineered to overexpress a heterologous alcohol/aldehyde dehydrogenase, which converts butyryl-CoA to n-butanol. Compared to conventional solventogenic clostridia, which produce acetone, ethanol, and butanol in a biphasic fermentation process, the engineered C. tyrobutyricum with a high metabolic flux toward butyryl-CoA produced n-butanol at a high yield of > 0.30 g/g and titer of > 20 g/L in glucose fermentation. With no acetone production and a high C4/C2 ratio, butanol was the only major fermentation product by the recombinant C. tyrobutyricum, allowing simplified downstream processing for product purification. In this review, novel metabolic engineering strategies to improve n-butanol and butyrate production by C. tyrobutyricum from various substrates, including glucose, xylose, galactose, sucrose, and cellulosic hydrolysates containing the mixture of glucose and xylose, are discussed. Compared to other recombinant hosts such as Clostridium acetobutylicum and Escherichia coli, the engineered C. tyrobutyricum strains with higher butyrate and butanol titers, yields and productivities are the most promising hosts for potential industrial applications.

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