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Open Access Open Badges Research article

De-novo synthesis of 2-phenylethanol by Enterobacter sp. CGMCC 5087

Haibo Zhang1, Mingle Cao2, Xinglin Jiang1, Huibin Zou1, Cong Wang1, Xin Xu1 and Mo Xian1*

Author Affiliations

1 CAS Key Laboratory of Biobased Materials, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.189 Songling Road, Laoshan District, Qingdao, PR 266101, China

2 University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany

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BMC Biotechnology 2014, 14:30  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-14-30

Published: 25 April 2014



2-phenylethanl (2-PE) and its derivatives are important chemicals, which are widely used in food materials and fine chemical industries and polymers and it’s also a potentially valuable alcohol for next-generation biofuel. However, the biosynthesis of 2-PE are mainly biotransformed from phenylalanine, the price of which barred the production. Therefore, it is necessary to seek more sustainable technologies for 2-PE production.


A new strain which produces 2-PE through the phenylpyruvate pathway was isolated and identified as Enterobacter sp. CGMCC 5087. The strain is able to use renewable monosaccharide as the carbon source and NH4Cl as the nitrogen source to produce 2-PE. Two genes of rate-limiting enzymes, chorismate mutase p-prephenate dehydratase (PheA) and 3-deoxy-d-arabino-heptulosonic acid 7-phosphate synthase (DAHP), were cloned from Escherichia coli and overexpressed in E. sp. CGMCC 5087. The engineered E. sp. CGMCC 5087 produces 334.9 mg L-1 2-PE in 12 h, which is 3.26 times as high as the wild strain.


The phenylpyruvate pathway and the substrate specificity of 2-keto-acid decarboxylase towards phenylpyruvate were found in E. sp. CGMCC 5087. Combined with the low-cost monosaccharide as the substrate, the finding provides a novel and potential way for 2-PE production.

2-Phenylethanol; Biosynthesis; Ehrlich pathway; Enterobacter sp