Production of acetol from glycerol using engineered Escherichia coli

Hongliang Zhu, Xianyang Yi, Yi Liu, Hongbo Hu, Thomas K. Wood, Xuehong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Escherichia coli Lin43 is a strain which has some mutations in glycerol kinase (GlpK) and the repressor for the glycerol 3-phosphate regulon (GlpR). When exposed to glycerol, it quickly accumulates lethal levels of methylglyoxal, which is a precursor of acetol; acetol is important for the manufacture of polyols, acrolein, dyes, and skin tanning agents. This work reports the engineering of E. coli Lin 43 for the conversion of glycerol into acetol. First, the glyoxalase system was interrupted by deleting the gloA gene, which increased the acetol yield by 32%. In addition, the aldehyde reductase YqhD was overexpressed which led to an increase of acetol production by 11.4-fold. Acetol production was optimized by varying the cell density, glycerol concentration, supplemental carbon source, pH and temperature. Under the optimal conditions (OD600=20, 20g/L glycerol, 2g/L succinate, pH 7.0, and 28°C), we obtained 5.4g/L acetol in 21h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-243
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource technology
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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