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Biotransformation of ferulic acid to 4-vinylguaiacol by Enterobacter soli and E. aerogenes.

Current microbiology (2012-09-19)
William J Hunter, Daniel K Manter, Daniel van der Lelie
ABSTRACT

We investigated the conversion of ferulic acid to 4-vinylguaiacol (4-VG), vanillin, vanillyl alcohol, and vanillic acid by five Enterobacter strains. These high-value chemicals are usually synthesized by chemical methods but biological synthesis adds market value. Ferulic acid, a relatively inexpensive component of agricultural crops, is plentiful in corn hulls, cereal bran, and sugar-beet pulp. Two Enterobacter strains, E. soli, and E. aerogenes, accumulated 550-600 ppm amounts of 4-VG when grown in media containing 1,000 ppm ferulic acid; no accumulations were observed with the other strains. Decreasing the amount of ferulic acid present in the media increased the conversion efficiency. When ferulic acid was supplied in 500, 250, or 125 ppm amounts E. aerogenes converted ~72 % of the ferulic acid present to 4-VG while E. soli converted ~100 % of the ferulic acid to 4-VG when supplied with 250 or 125 ppm amounts of ferulic acid. Also, lowering the pH improved the conversion efficiency. At pH 5.0 E. aerogenes converted ~84 % and E. soli converted ~100 % of 1,000 ppm ferulic acid to 4-VG. Only small, 1-5 ppm, accumulations of vanillin, vanillyl alcohol, and vanillic acid were observed. E. soli has a putative phenolic acid decarboxylase (PAD) that is 168 amino acids long and is similar to PADs in other enterobacteriales; this protein is likely involved in the bioconversion of ferulic acid to 4-VG. E. soli or E. aerogenes might be useful as a means of biotransforming ferulic acid to 4-VG.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Guaiacol, natural, ≥99%, FG
Sigma-Aldrich
Guaiacol, oxidation indicator
Supelco
Guaiacol, Pharmaceutical Secondary Standard; Certified Reference Material
Sigma-Aldrich
2-Methoxy-4-vinylphenol, ≥98%, FG