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Formation of coumarines during the degradation of alkyl substituted aromatic oil components by the yeast Trichosporon asahii

Abstract

In this study, we investigated the ability of the yeast Trichosporon asahii SBUG-Y 833 to assimilate phenylalkanes with alkyl chain lengths from 7 to 12 carbon atoms, and we describe for the first time the formation of coumarines via a novel degradation pathway other than the normal terminal and ß-oxidation pathway of the alkyl residues. Besides benzoic acid and its further oxidation products, six new metabolites were identified. These were the three coumarines—4-hydroxycoumarin, 4,6-dihydroxycoumarin, 4,8-dihydroxycoumarin—and the three alkyl substituted aromatic acids—7-phenylheptanoic acid, 2-hydroxyphenylheptanoic acid, and 2-hydroxyphenylpropanoic acid. 4-Hydroxycoumarin was the main extracellular metabolite during the degradation of both odd- and even-chain phenylalkanes and was also produced during further biotransformation of 2-hydroxyphenylpropanoic acid and trans-2-hydroxycinnamic acid. Due to the ability of T. asahii to form hydroxylated coumarines, the transformation of 7-hydroxycoumarin and 2,4-dihydroxyphenylpropanoic acid was investigated. Yeast cells supplemented with 7-hydroxycoumarin formed 6,7-dihydroxycoumarin and 4,7-dihydroxycoumarin. The transformation of 2,4-dihydroxyphenylpropanoic acid yielded to 4,7-dihydroxycoumarin as the main product. All hydroxylated coumarines were continuously accumulated and are very resistant to further oxidation. The high potential of the yeast T. asahii SBUG-Y 833 to form different hydroxylated coumarines from alkylaromatics suggests possible applications in the biotechnological production of coumarine structures with medical potential as anticoagulative and antitumor pharmaceutical.

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Correspondence to Susanne Awe.

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Awe, S., Mikolasch, A. & Schauer, F. Formation of coumarines during the degradation of alkyl substituted aromatic oil components by the yeast Trichosporon asahii . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 84, 965–976 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-009-2044-2

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Keywords

  • Degradation
  • Alkylbenzenes
  • Coumarines
  • 4-Hydroxycoumarin
  • Yeasts