February 1, 2021
Journal Article

Lipid production from non-sugar compounds in pretreated lignocellulose hydrolysates by Rhodococcus jostii RHA1


Valorization of all carbon sources from biorefinery wastes to biofuels and bioproducts is an attractive but challenging strategy to improve the carbon efficiency of the entire biorefinery process for economic competitiveness. Rhodococcus jostii RHA1 is considered as a promising candidate for conversion of non-sugar compounds in pretreated lignocellulose hydrolysate, which contain aromatic monomers, furans and acids derived from biomass. However, the insufficient understanding of the strain’s complex metabolism network limits its application. In this study, furans (furfural, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural), phenols (vanillin, vanillate), and organic acids (acetic acid), which mimic the complex components of the non-sugar compounds in pretreated biomass hydrolysate, were mixed with benzoate or used individually as carbon sources to investigate the growth and lipid accumulation of R. jostii RHA1. Fermentation kinetics, specific growth rates (h-1) and lipid yield (g(g) -1, g(mmol)-1), for each selected biomass-derived compound were compared for lipid production. The order of the specific growth rates (h-1) was benzoate > acetic acid > vanillate > vanillin. Higher consumption rate of benzoate than that of vanillate, as well as different lipid yield from them, suggested the preference of strain employing two branches of ß-ketoadipate pathway and plausibly distinct carbon routing to lipid biosynthesis. And acetic acid showed the lowest lipid yield (g(mmol)-1) indicating less carbon contributed to lipid production. The highest lipid content (0.46 g lipid/g CDW) was achieved using benzoate as a main carbon source in the presence of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF). The generated lipids predominantly contained C16:0 and C17:0 fatty acids. The concentration of furfural and 5-HMF in fermentation broth decreased individually or simultaneously with benzoate catabolism. NMR results revealed the oxidation of furfural and 5-HMF by R. jostii RHA1. This study provides new insights into the catabolism and metabolism of non-sugar compounds derived from biomass by Rhodococcus in terms of growth and lipid production, facilitating its application to 2nd generation biofuel production.

Revised: February 15, 2021 | Published: February 1, 2021


Li X., Z. Xu, J.R. Cort, W. Qian, and B. Yang. 2021. "Lipid production from non-sugar compounds in pretreated lignocellulose hydrolysates by Rhodococcus jostii RHA1." Biomass and Bioenergy 145. PNNL-SA-153203. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2021.105970