A coenzyme-independent decarboxylase/oxygenase cascade for the efficient synthesis of vanillin

Toshiki Furuya, Misa Miura, Kuniki Kino

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Vanillin is one of the most widely used flavor compounds in the world as well as a promising versatile building block. The biotechnological production of vanillin from plant-derived ferulic acid has attracted much attention as a new alternative to chemical synthesis. One limitation of the known metabolic pathway to vanillin is its requirement for expensive coenzymes. Here, we developed a novel route to vanillin from ferulic acid that does not require any coenzymes. This artificial pathway consists of a coenzyme-independent decarboxylase and a coenzyme-independent oxygenase. When Escherichia coli cells harboring the decarboxylase/oxygenase cascade were incubated with ferulic acid, the cells efficiently synthesized vanillin (8.0 mM, 1.2 g L(-1) ) via 4-vinylguaiacol in one pot, without the generation of any detectable aromatic by-products. The efficient method described here might be applicable to the synthesis of other high-value chemicals from plant-derived aromatics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2248-2254
    Number of pages7
    JournalChembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology
    Issue number15
    Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 13


    • biocatalysis
    • cascade reaction
    • decarboxylation
    • oxidation
    • sustainable chemistry

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Medicine
    • Molecular Biology
    • Organic Chemistry


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