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A research team led by Prof. Sang-Yup Lee of the KI for the BioCentury has succeeded in engineering the bacterium E. coli to produce the industrial chemical putrescine.

Putrescine, a four carbon chain diamine, is an important platform chemical with a wide range of applications for the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and chemical industries. It is currently used to synthesize nylon-4,6, a widely used engineering plastic.

The research result, published in the Biotechnology and Bioengineering journal, proviDrdes a renewable alternative to the traditional process using fossil fuels.

Currently the production of putrescine on an industrial scale relies on chemical synthesis, which requires non-renewable petrochemicals and expensive catalyst systems. This process is highly toxic and flammable with potentially severe repercussions for both the environment and human health.

 "For the first time we have developed a metabolically engineered E. coli strain that efficiently produces putrescine," said Professor Lee. "The development of a bio-refinery for chemicals and materials is very important in a world where dependency on fossil fuels is an increasing concern."

The team developed a strain of E.coli capable of producing putrescine through metabolic engineering. This is where a cell's metabolic and regulatory networks are enhanced in order to increase production of a needed material.

 First the team weakened or deleted competing metabolic pathways within the E. coli strain before deleting pathways which cause putrescine degradation. They also amplified the crucial enzyme Spec C, which converts the chemical ornithine into putrescine. Finally the putrescine exporter, which allows excretion of intracellularly made putrescine, was engineered while a global regulator was engineered to further increase the concentration of putrescine. The final result of this process was an engineered E.coli strain which produced 24.2 g of putrescine per litre.

 However, as it was believed that putrescine is toxic to microorganisms the team had to study putrescine tolerance in E.coli before it could be engineered to overproduce the chemical to the levels needed for industrial production.

 The results revealed that E. coli can tolerate at least 0.5 M of putrescine, which is tenfold higher than the usual concentration in the cell. This level of tolerance was an important surprise as it means that E. coli can be engineered to overproduce putrescine to industrially competitive levels.

"The previously expected toxicity of putrescine may explain why its microbial production has been overlooked," said Lee. "Now a metabolically engineered E. coli strain has been developed which is capable of efficiently producing putrescine using renewable methods to an industrial level. This metabolic engineering framework should be useful for developing metabolically engineered microorganisms for the efficient production of other chemicals from renewable resources," he added.


List of Articles
No. Category Subject Author Date Views
35 KIB Professor Sang-Yup Lee Named Senior Editor of U.S. Biotechnology Journal [2007-02-07] KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.08 11785
34 KIB 이상엽, 정하웅 교수팀, 가상세포로 필수대사물질 발굴, 간겅성 문제 규명 [2007-08-16] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.08 5168
» KIB Prof. Sang-Yup Lee's Team Pioneers Biotechnological Production of Chemical Using Renewable Materials [2009-11-02] KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.09 14070
32 KIR 대한민국 특허왕 이대길 교수, 올해의 KAIST인에 선정 [2009-11-23] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.09 5400
31 Others Won the NAS Award (National Academy of Science Award) file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.09 4143
30 Others Synthesis of Calcium Crystals on Any Material Surfaces is Developed [2010-07-20] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.09 4871
29 KIITC Technology Transfer for Powerless/ wireless Keyboard [2010-07-20] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.09 5468
28 KIR Prof. Jung Kim's project has been selected to the research project for Public Welfare Safety [2010-08-16] KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 4831
27 KIHST High-Precision Ranging Method for Future Space Missions Is Developed [2010-08-24] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 4070
26 KIR Won the Outstanding Indistry-cooperation Awardby Hyundai Motor Company [2011-12-13] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 5437
25 Others Elected a Fellow of ACI(American Concrete Institute) [2011-12-13] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 5580
24 KIHST Ultrashort EUV Pulses generation using high harmonic generation by plasmonic field enhancement [2012-01-12] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 20365
23 Others KIUSS Research Contract on the Branch of 'Smart Green City' [2012-01-12] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 13780
22 KIR Developes Industry's First Cargo Hold for LNG Tankers [2012-01-12] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 8718
21 KIITC Won the Largh-scale Convergence Project Contract [2012-01-12] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 5792
20 KIB Appointed as Head Director of the Global Frontier Program (GFP) of National Research Foundation [2012-01-12] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 25304
19 KIITC 초슬림 휴대폰 나온다 [2012-01-12] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 4459
18 KINC 보다 태양빛에 가까운 LED 개발 [2012-01-12] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 6683
17 KIITC KAIST's Smart E-book System More Convenient than Paper-based Books [2012-02-19] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 6719
16 KINC LED의 새로운 발견, 형광체 없이 다양한 색깔의 빛 낸다 [2012-01-17] file KAIST_INSTITUTE 2016.06.10 5854
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