Modified Metabolic Pathways in E. coli for Improved Succinate Production


Background: Succinate is presently manufactured in an expensive process from petrochemicals. Though researchers have previously managed to produce succinate using metabolic pathways none of these methods have approached the product yield of nonrenewable sources. As a result petroleum-based production methods – dependent upon fluctuations in oil prices - have dominated the market. Technology Description: This invention is a process that reconstructs the metabolic pathways of a modified E. coli strain to increase production yields of succinate. By utilizing both the traditional anaerobic pathway and the glyoxylate cycle this method maximizes the carbon converted to succinic acid by recapturing maximum quantities of NADH for diversion to succinate synthesis. 35000 tons of succinate were produced in 2011 and the Department of Energy has named succinate as a top-value chemical that can be produced from biomass. Applications: Succinate is presently used as an acid stabilizer in pharmaceuticals and a flavor additive in food as well in the production of other industrial chemicals used in plastics fuel additives and paints. There is potential to expand products to include biodegradable polymers for use in bags packaging films and food containers.


1) Biosynthetic production operates independently of fluctuating oil prices 2) Method produces high yields with few byproducts 3) Method is environmentally friendly compared to current petrochemical-based production

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