Production of industrial aromatic chemicals from renewable resources could provide a competitive alternative to traditional chemical synthesis routes. This review describes the engineering of microorganisms for the production of hydroxycinnamic acid (pHCA) and hydroxystyrene (pHS) from glucose. The initial process concept was demonstrated using a tyrosine-producing strain that overexpressed both fungal phenylalanine/tyrosine ammonia lyase () and bacterial pHCA decarboxylase () genes. Further development of this bioprocess resulted in uncoupling the pHCA and pHS production steps to mitigate their toxicity to the production host. The final process consists of a fermentation step to convert glucose to tyrosine using a tyrosine-overproducing strain. This step is followed by a single biotransformation reaction to deaminate tyrosine to pHCA through immobilized cells that overexpress the gene. Finally, chemical decarboxylation of pHCA produces pHS. This multifaceted approach, which integrates biology, chemistry, and engineering, has allowed development of an economical process at scales suitable for industrial applications.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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