A novel framework for the cell-free enzymatic production of glucaric acid

Kerstin Petroll, Andrew Care, Peter L. Bergquist, Anwar Sunna*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Glucaric acid (GlucA) is a valuable glucose-derived chemical with promising applications as a biodegradable and biocompatible chemical in the manufacturing of plastics, detergents and drugs. Recently, there has been a significant focus on producing GlucA microbially (in vivo) from renewable materials such as glucose, sucrose and myo-inositol. However, these in vivo GlucA production processes generally lack efficiency due to toxicity problems, metabolite competition and suboptimal enzyme ratios. Synthetic biology and accompanying cell-free biocatalysis have been proposed as a viable approach to overcome many of these limitations. However, cell-free biocatalysis faces its own limitations for industrial applications due to high enzyme costs and cofactor consumption. We have constructed a cell-free GlucA pathway and demonstrated a novel framework to overcome limitations of cell-free biocatalysis by i) the combination of both thermostable and mesophilic enzymes, ii) incorporation of a cofactor regeneration system and iii) immobilisation and recycling of the pathway enzymes. The cell-free production of GlucA was achieved from glucose-1-phosphate with a titre of 14.1 ± 0.9 mM (3.0 ± 0.2 gl−1) and a molar yield of 35.2 ± 2.3% using non-immobilised enzymes, and a titre of 8.1 ± 0.2 mM (1.70 ± 0.04 g l−1) and a molar yield of 20.2 ± 0.5% using immobilised enzymes with a total reaction time of 10 h. The resulting productivities (0.30 ± 0.02 g/h/l for free enzymes and 0.170 ± 0.004 g/h/l for immobilised enzymes) are the highest productivities so far reported for glucaric acid production using a synthetic enzyme pathway.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)162-173
    Number of pages12
    JournalMetabolic Engineering
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


    • Glucaric acid
    • Cell-free biocatalysis
    • Enzyme immobilisation
    • Enzyme recycling
    • Thermostable enzymes
    • Cofactor regeneration


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