Engineered co-culture for consolidated production of phenylpropanoids directly from aromatic-rich biomass

Micaela Chacon, Ellen Percival, Timothy D. H. Bugg, Neil Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Consolidated bioprocesses for the in situ hydrolysis and conversion of biomass feedstocks into value-added products offers great potential for both process and cost reduction. However, to date few consolidated bioprocesses have been developed that target aromatic rich feedstock fractions. Reported here is the development of synthetic co-cultivation for the consolidated hydrolysis and valorisation of corncob hydroxycinnamic acids. Biomass hydrolysis was achieved via a secretion module developed in B. subtilis using a genetically encoded biosensor-actuator to secrete hydrolytic enzymes. Conversion was achieved via a biotransformation module developed in E. coli using a suite of plug-and-play encoded enzymes to convert the release hydroxycinnamic acids into high-value phenylpropanoid target compounds. Finally, employing cellulolytic pre-treatment, extractive fermentation and in situ product recovery multiple aromatic products, coniferol and chavicol, were isolated from the same process in high purity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBioresource Technology
Early online date2 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Corncob lignocellulose
  • hydroxycinnamic acids
  • co-culture
  • protein secretion
  • biotransformation


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