Bacterial conversion of depolymerized Kraft lignin.
ABSTRACT: Background:Lignin is a potential feedstock for microbial conversion into various chemicals. However, the microbial degradation rate of native or technical lignin is low, and chemical depolymerization is needed to obtain reasonable conversion rates. In the current study, nine bacterial strains belonging to the Pseudomonas and Rhodococcus genera were evaluated for their ability to grow on alkaline-treated softwood lignin as a sole carbon source. Results:Pseudomonas fluorescens DSM 50090 and Rhodococcus opacus DSM1069 showed the best growth of the tested species on plates with lignin. Further evaluation of P. fluorescens and R. opacus was made in liquid cultivations with depolymerized softwood Kraft lignin (DL) at a concentration of 1 g/L. Size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) showed that R. opacus consumed most of the available lower-molecular weight compounds (approximately 0.1-0.4 kDa) in the DL, but the weight distribution of larger fractions was almost unaffected. Importantly, the consumed compounds included guaiacol-one of the main monomers in the DL. SEC analysis of P. fluorescens culture broth, in contrast, did not show a large conversion of low-molecular weight compounds, and guaiacol remained unconsumed. However, a significant shift in molecular weight distribution towards lower average weights was seen after cultivation with P. fluorescens. Conclusions:Rhodococcus opacus and P. fluorescens were identified as two potential microbial candidates for the conversion/consumption of base-catalyzed depolymerized lignin, acting on low- and high-molecular weight lignin fragments, respectively. These findings will be of relevance for designing bioconversion of softwood Kraft lignin.
Project description:Background:Lignin is a potential feedstock for microbial conversion into various chemicals. However, the degradation rate of native or technical lignin is low, and depolymerization is needed to obtain reasonable conversion rates. In the current study, base-catalyzed depolymerization-using NaOH (5 wt%)-of softwood Kraft lignin was conducted in a continuous-flow reactor system at temperatures in the range 190-240 °C and residence times of 1 or 2 min. The ability of growth of nine bacterial strains belonging to the genera Pseudomonas and Rhodococcus was tested using the alkaline-treated lignin as a sole carbon source. Results:Pseudomonas fluorescens and Rhodococcus opacus showed the best growth of the tested species on plates with lignin. Further evaluation of P. fluorescens and R. opacus was made in liquid cultivations with depolymerized lignin (DL) at a concentration of 1 g/L. Size exclusion chromatography (SEC) showed that R. opacus consumed most of the available lower molecular weight compounds (approximately 0.1-0.4 kDa) in the DL, but the weight distribution of larger fractions was almost unaffected. Importantly, the consumed compounds included guaiacol-one of the main monomers in the DL. SEC analysis of P. fluorescens culture broth, in contrast, did not show a large conversion of low molecular weight compounds, and guaiacol remained unconsumed. However, a significant shift in molecular weight distribution towards lower average weights was seen. Conclusions:Rhodococcus opacus and P. fluorescens were identified as two potential microbial candidates for the conversion/consumption of base-catalyzed depolymerized lignin, acting on low and high molecular weight lignin fragments, respectively. These findings will be of relevance for designing bioconversion of softwood Kraft lignin.
Project description:One way of valorizing the lignin waste stream from the pulp and paper industries is depolymerizing it into low-molecular-mass compounds (LMMC). However, a common problem in the depolymerization of Kraft lignin is the low yields of small aromatic molecules obtained. In the present work, the combination of the repeated depolymerization of lignin and the separation of LMMC from depolymerized lignin to upgrade them into value-added chemicals was studied. In so doing, we investigated the possibility of depolymerizing black liquor retentate (BLR). The base-catalyzed depolymerization of BLR was performed using a continuous flow reactor at 170-210 °C, with a 2 min residence time. The results obtained indicate that BLR can be depolymerized effectively under the experimental conditions. Depolymerized lignin LMMC can be successfully separated by a GR95PP membrane, and thus be protected from repolymerization. Through combining membrane filtration with base-catalyzed depolymerization, more than half of the lignin could be depolymerized into LMMC. Around 46 mg/g of lignin monomers (guaiacol, vanillin, acetovanillone, and acetosyringone), which can potentially be upgraded to high-valued chemicals, were produced. On the basis of our results, we suggest use of a recycling Kraft lignin depolymerization and filtration process for maximizing the production of LMMC under mild alkaline conditions.
Project description:Background:Biological routes for utilizing both carbohydrates and lignin are important to reach the ultimate goal of bioconversion of full carbon in biomass into biofuels and biochemicals. Recent biotechnology advances have shown promises toward facilitating biological transformation of lignin into lipids. Natural and engineered Rhodococcus strains (e.g., R. opacus PD630, R. jostii RHA1, and R. jostii RHA1 VanA-) have been demonstrated to utilize lignin for lipid production, and co-culture of them can promote lipid production from lignin. Results:In this study, a co-fermentation module of natural and engineered Rhodococcus strains with significant improved lignin degradation and/or lipid biosynthesis capacities was established, which enabled simultaneous conversion of glucose, lignin, and its derivatives into lipids. Although Rhodococci sp. showed preference to glucose over lignin, nearly half of the lignin was quickly depolymerized to monomers by these strains for cell growth and lipid synthesis after glucose was nearly consumed up. Profiles of metabolites produced by Rhodococcus strains growing on different carbon sources (e.g., glucose, alkali lignin, and dilute acid flowthrough-pretreated poplar wood slurry) confirmed lignin conversion during co-fermentation, and indicated novel metabolic capacities and unexplored metabolic pathways in these organisms. Proteome profiles suggested that lignin depolymerization by Rhodococci sp. involved multiple peroxidases with accessory oxidases. Besides the ?-ketoadipate pathway, the phenylacetic acid (PAA) pathway was another potential route for the in vivo ring cleavage activity. In addition, deficiency of reducing power and cellular oxidative stress probably led to lower lipid production using lignin as the sole carbon source than that using glucose. Conclusions:This work demonstrated a potential strategy for efficient bioconversion of both lignin and glucose into lipids by co-culture of multiple natural and engineered Rhodococcus strains. In addition, the involvement of PAA pathway in lignin degradation can help to further improve lignin utilization, and the combinatory proteomics and bioinformatics strategies used in this study can also be applied into other systems to reveal the metabolic and regulatory pathways for balanced cellular metabolism and to select genetic targets for efficient conversion of both lignin and carbohydrates into biofuels.
Project description:A diversity of softwood lignin depolymerization processes yield guaiacol as the main low molecular weight product. This key aromatic compound can be utilized as a carbon source by several microbial species, most of which are Gram positive bacteria. Microbial degradation of guaiacol is known to proceed initially via demethylation to catechol, and this reaction is catalyzed by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. These enzymes typically require a set of redox partner proteins, whose number and identities were not described until very recently in the case of guaiacol. In this work we identified two proteins involved in guaiacol demethylation by the actinomycete Rhodococcus rhodochrous. Additionally, we constructed four different polycistronic operons carrying combinations of putative redox partners of this guaiacol demethylation system in an inducible expression plasmid that was introduced into the Gram negative host Pseudomonas putida EM42, and the guaiacol consumption dynamics of each resulting strain were analyzed. All the polycistronic operons, expressing a cytochrome P450 together with a putative ferredoxin reductase from R. rhodochrous and putative ferredoxins from R. rhodochrous or Amycolatopsis ATCC 39116 enabled P. putida EM42 to metabolize and grow on guaiacol as the sole carbon source.
Project description:Kraft lignin, the main by-product of the pulping industry, is an abundant, yet highly underutilized renewable aromatic polymer. During kraft pulping, the lignin undergoes extensive structural modification, with many labile native bonds being replaced by new, more recalcitrant ones. Currently little is known about the nature of those bonds and linkages in kraft lignin, information that is essential for its efficient valorization to renewable fuels, materials or chemicals. Here, we provide detailed new insights into the structure of softwood kraft lignin, identifying and quantifying the major native as well as kraft pulping-derived units as a function of molecular weight. <i>De novo</i> synthetic kraft lignins, generated from (isotope labelled) dimeric and advanced polymeric models, provided key mechanistic understanding of kraft lignin formation, revealing different process dependent reaction pathways to be operating. The discovery of a novel kraft-derived lactone condensation product proved diagnostic for the identification of a previously unknown homovanillin based condensation pathway. The lactone marker is found in various different soft- and hardwood kraft lignins, suggesting the general pertinence of this new condensation mechanism for kraft pulping. These novel structural and mechanistic insights will aid the development of future biomass and lignin valorization technologies.
Project description:Lignin is the second most abundant biopolymer in nature and a promising renewable resource for aromatic chemicals. For the understanding of different lignin isolation and conversion processes, the identification of phenolic compounds is of importance. However, given the vast number of possible chemical transformations, the prediction of produced phenolic structures is challenging and a nontargeted analysis method is therefore needed. In this study, a nontargeted analysis method has been developed for the identification of phenolic compounds by using an ultrahigh-performance supercritical fluid chromatography-high-resolution multiple stage tandem mass spectrometry method, combined with a Kendrick mass defect-based classification model. The method is applied to a Lignoboost Kraft lignin (LKL), a sodium lignosulfonate lignin (SLS), and a depolymerized Kraft lignin (DKL) sample. In total, 260 tentative phenolic compounds are identified in the LKL sample, 50 in the SLS sample, and 77 in the DKL sample.
Project description:The conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into bioethanol or biochemical products requires a crucial pretreatment process to breakdown the recalcitrant lignin structure. This research focuses on the isolation and characterization of a lignin-degrading bacterial strain from a decaying oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB). The isolated strain, identified as Streptomyces sp. S6, grew in a minimal medium with Kraft lignin (KL) as the sole carbon source. Several known ligninolytic enzyme assays were performed, and lignin peroxidase (LiP), laccase (Lac), dye-decolorizing peroxidase (DyP) and aryl-alcohol oxidase (AAO) activities were detected. A 55.3% reduction in the molecular weight (Mw) of KL was observed after 7 days of incubation with Streptomyces sp. S6 based on gel-permeation chromatography (GPC). Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) also successfully highlighted the production of lignin-derived aromatic compounds, such as 3-methyl-butanoic acid, guaiacol derivatives, and 4,6-dimethyl-dodecane, after treatment of KL with strain S6. Finally, draft genome analysis of Streptomyces sp. S6 also revealed the presence of strong lignin degradation machinery and identified various candidate genes responsible for lignin depolymerization, as well as for the mineralization of the lower molecular weight compounds, confirming the lignin degradation capability of the bacterial strain.
Project description:The aim of this study was to improve water resistance of camelina protein (CP) for wood adhesives with depolymerized lignin. Kraft lignin was depolymerized by H2O2-induced oxidation in the presence of ultrasound (US) irradiation to reduce lignin's particle size and thermal stability and increase the hydroxyl group. Coupling with depolymerized lignin camelina protein exhibited increased hydrophobicity. Fluorescence spectroscopy analysis revealed that the oxidation treatment of lignin further stimulated the hydrophobization effect of the protein-lignin copolymer due to the increased reactivity of depolymerized lignin to camelina protein. Accordingly, the water resistance of CP-lignin adhesives was significantly improved. When copolymerized with US-induced oxidized lignin, the camelina protein had increased wet shear adhesion strength from 0.28 to 1.43 MPa, with wood panels passing the three-cycle water-soaking test. The CP resin, with depolymerized lignin as an economical, green, and bio-based hydrophobic enhancer, provided an alternative to the petroleum-based and other edible protein-based adhesives, such as soy protein.
Project description:Lignin-derived (e.g. phenolic) compounds can compromise the bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels and chemicals due to their toxicity and recalcitrance. The lipid-accumulating bacterium Rhodococcus opacus PD630 has recently emerged as a promising microbial host for lignocellulose conversion to value-added products due to its natural ability to tolerate and utilize phenolics. To gain a better understanding of its phenolic tolerance and utilization mechanisms, we adaptively evolved R. opacus over 40 passages using phenol as its sole carbon source (up to 373% growth improvement over wild-type), and extensively characterized two strains from passages 33 and 40. The two adapted strains showed higher phenol consumption rates (?20 mg/l/h) and ?2-fold higher lipid production from phenol than the wild-type strain. Whole-genome sequencing and comparative transcriptomics identified highly-upregulated degradation pathways and putative transporters for phenol in both adapted strains, highlighting the important linkage between mechanisms of regulated phenol uptake, utilization, and evolved tolerance. Our study shows that the R. opacus mutants are likely to use their transporters to import phenol rather than export them, suggesting a new aromatic tolerance mechanism. The identified tolerance genes and pathways are promising candidates for future metabolic engineering in R. opacus for improved lignin conversion to lipid-based products.
Project description:Bacterial protein secretion represents a significant challenge in biotechnology, which is essential for the cost-effective production of therapeutics, enzymes, and other functional proteins. Here, it is demonstrated that proteomics-guided engineering of transcription, translation, secretion, and folding of ligninolytic laccase balances the process, minimizes the toxicity, and enables efficient heterologous secretion with a total protein yield of 13.7 g L<sup>-1</sup>. The secretory laccase complements the biochemical limits on lignin depolymerization well in <i>Rhodococcus opacus</i> PD630. Further proteomics analysis reveals the mechanisms for the oleaginous phenotype of <i>R. opacus</i> PD630, where a distinct multiunit fatty acid synthase I drives the carbon partition to storage lipid. The discovery guides the design of efficient lipid conversion from lignin and carbohydrate. The proteomics-guided integration of laccase-secretion and lipid production modules enables a high titer in converting lignin-enriched biorefinery waste to lipid. The fundamental mechanisms, engineering components, and design principle can empower transformative platforms for biomanufacturing and biorefining.