Journal of industrial microbiology

Review: biocatalytic transformations of ferulic acid: an abundant aromatic natural product.

PMID 8821508


In this review we examine the fascinating array of microbial and enzymatic transformations of ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is an extremely abundant, preformed phenolic aromatic chemical found widely in nature. Ferulic acid is viewed as a commodity scale, renewable chemical feedstock for biocatalytic conversion to other useful aromatic chemicals. Most attention is focused on bioconversions of ferulic acid itself. Topics covered include cinnamoyl side-chain cleavage; nonoxidative decarboxylation; mechanistic details of styrene formation; purification and characterization of ferulic acid decarboxylase; conversion of ferulic acid to vanillin; O-demethylation; and reduction reactions. Biotransformations of vinylguaiacol are discussed, and selected biotransformations of vanillic acid including oxidative and nonoxidative decarboxylation are surveyed. Finally, enzymatic oxidative dimerization and polymerization reactions are reviewed.