Fermentative production of isobutene.

Applied microbiology and biotechnology (2012-01-12)
Bianca N M van Leeuwen, Albertus M van der Wulp, Isabelle Duijnstee, Antonius J A van Maris, Adrie J J Straathof

Isobutene (2-methylpropene) is one of those chemicals for which bio-based production might replace the petrochemical production in the future. Currently, more than 10 million metric tons of isobutene are produced on a yearly basis. Even though bio-based production might also be achieved through chemocatalytic or thermochemical methods, this review focuses on fermentative routes from sugars. Although biological isobutene formation is known since the 1970s, extensive metabolic engineering is required to achieve economically viable yields and productivities. Two recent metabolic engineering developments may enable anaerobic production close to the theoretical stoichiometry of 1isobutene + 2CO(2) + 2H(2)O per mol of glucose. One relies on the conversion of 3-hydroxyisovalerate to isobutene as a side activity of mevalonate diphosphate decarboxylase and the other on isobutanol dehydration as a side activity of engineered oleate hydratase. The latter resembles the fermentative production of isobutanol followed by isobutanol recovery and chemocatalytic dehydration. The advantage of a completely biological route is that not isobutanol, but instead gaseous isobutene is recovered from the fermenter together with CO(2). The low aqueous solubility of isobutene might also minimize product toxicity to the microorganisms. Although developments are at their infancy, the potential of a large scale fermentative isobutene production process is assessed. The production costs estimate is 0.9 Euro kg(-1), which is reasonably competitive. About 70% of the production costs will be due to the costs of lignocellulose hydrolysate, which seems to be a preferred feedstock.

Product Number
Product Description

2-Methylpropene, 99%