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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2004 Mar;64(1):16-27. Epub 2003 Dec 11.

3-hydroxypropionaldehyde: applications and perspectives of biotechnological production.

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  • 1Laboratory of Food Biotechnology, Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


3-hydroxypropionaldehyde (3-HPA) forms, together with HPA-hydrate and HPA-dimer, a dynamic, multi-component system (HPA system) used in food preservation, as a precursor for many modern chemicals such as acrolein, acrylic acid, and 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PDO), and for polymer production. 3-HPA can be obtained both through traditional chemistry and bacterial fermentation. To date, 3-HPA has been produced from petrochemical resources as an intermediate in 1,3-PDO production. In vivo, glycerol is converted in one enzymatic step into 3-HPA. The 3-HPA-producing Lactobacillus reuteri is used as a probiotic in the health care of humans and animals. The biotechnological production of 3-HPA from renewable resources is desirable both for use of 3-HPA in foods and for the production of bulk chemicals. The main challenge will be the efficient production and recovery of pure 3-HPA.

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