Establishing microbial co-cultures for 3-hydroxybenzoic acid biosynthesis on glycerol

Yiyao Zhou, Zhenghong Li, Xiaonan Wang, Haoran Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Converting renewable feedstocks to aromatic compounds using engineered microbes offers a robust approach for sustainable, environment-friendly, and cost-effective production of these value-added products without the reliance on petroleum. In this study, rationally designed E. coli–E. coli co-culture systems were established for converting glycerol to 3-hydroxybenzoic acid (3HB). Specifically, the 3HB pathway was modularized and accommodated by two metabolically engineered E. coli strains. The co-culture biosynthesis was optimized by using different cultivation temperatures, varying the inoculum ratio between the co-culture strains, recruitment of a key pathway intermediate transporter, strengthening the critical pathway enzyme expression, and adjusting the timing for inducing pathway gene expression. Compared with the E. coli mono-culture, the optimized co-culture showed 5.3-fold improvement for 3HB biosynthesis. This study demonstrated the applicability of modular co-culture engineering for addressing the challenges of aromatic compound biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-395
Number of pages7
JournalEngineering in Life Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Bioengineering


  • 3-hydroxybenzoic acid
  • E. coli
  • microbial biosynthesis
  • modular co-culture engineering

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