Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 87, Issue 6, pp 2001–2009 | Cite as

Microbial production of meso-2,3-butanediol by metabolically engineered Escherichia coli under low oxygen condition

  • Zheng-Jun Li
  • Jia Jian
  • Xiao-Xing Wei
  • Xiao-Wen Shen
  • Guo-Qiang Chen
Biotechnological Products and Process Engineering


A metabolically engineered Escherichia coli has been constructed for the production of meso-2,3-butanediol (2,3-BD) under low oxygen condition. Genes responsible for 2,3-BD formation from pyruvate were assembled together to generate a high-copy plasmid pEnBD, in which each gene was transcribed with a constitutive promoter. To eliminate by-product formation under low oxygen condition, genes including ldhA, pta, adhE, and poxB which functioned for the mixed acid fermentation pathways were deleted in E. coli JM109. Compared with the wild type, the quadruple gene deletion mutant produced smaller amounts of acetate, succinate, and ethanol from glucose when cultivated in LB medium in shake flasks under low-aeration. When 2,3-BD producing pathway was introduced via pEnBD into the mutant, higher glucose consumption and faster 2,3-BD production rate compared with that of the wild-type control were observed under aerobic condition in shake flasks. In a 6-L fermentor supplied with only 3% dissolved oxygen (DO), the mutant harboring pEnBD converted glucose to 2,3-BD much faster than the control did. When DO supply was further lowered to 1% DO, the recombinant mutant grew much slower but produced 2,3-BD as a major fermentation metabolic product. In addition, the 2,3-BD yield showed an increase from 0.20 g BD/g glucose for the control to 0.43 g BD/g glucose for the mixed acid pathway deleted mutant grown in fermentors under 1% DO. These results reveals the potential of production of enantiomerically pure 2,3-BD isomer by recombinant E. coli under low oxygen condition.


meso-2,3-butanediol Microaerobic Mixed acid fermentation Escherichia coli Metabolic engineering 



We are grateful to Professor De-Hua Liu of Tsinghua University for the generous donation of Kebsiella pneumonia 14sp-N. We also thank E. coli Genetic Stock Center at Yale University for the kind donation of plasmids pKD46, pKD13, and pCP20. This research was financially supported by China National High Tech 863 Grant (Project No. 20071860338), the State Basic Science Foundation 973 (2007CB707804), and China National Key Technology R&D Program (Project No. 20091851262).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zheng-Jun Li
    • 1
  • Jia Jian
    • 1
  • Xiao-Xing Wei
    • 1
  • Xiao-Wen Shen
    • 1
  • Guo-Qiang Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Protein Science Laboratory of the Ministry of Education, Department of Biology, School of Life SciencesTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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