Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 8, pp 3561–3571 | Cite as

4-Hydroxybenzoic acid—a versatile platform intermediate for value-added compounds

  • Songwei Wang
  • Muhammad Bilal
  • Hongbo Hu
  • Wei Wang
  • Xuehong Zhang


4-Hydroxybenzoic acid (4-HBA) has recently emerged as a promising intermediate for several value-added bioproducts with potential biotechnological applications in food, cosmetics, pharmacy, fungicides, etc. Over the past years, a variety of biosynthetic techniques have been developed for producing the 4-HBA and 4-HBA-based products. At this juncture, synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches enabled the biosynthesis of 4-HBA to address the increasing demand for high-value bioproducts. This review summarizes the biosynthesis of a variety of industrially pertinent compounds such as resveratrol, muconic acid, gastrodin, xiamenmycin, and vanillyl alcohol using 4-HBA as the starting feedstock. Moreover, potential research activities with a close-up look at the future perspectives to produce new compounds using 4-HBA have also been discussed.


4-Hydroxybenzoic acid Platform intermediate Synthetic biology Metabolic engineering Bioproducts 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31670033) and the National Key Basic Research Program of China (No. 2012CB721005).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Songwei Wang
    • 1
  • Muhammad Bilal
    • 1
  • Hongbo Hu
    • 1
  • Wei Wang
    • 1
  • Xuehong Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism, School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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