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Microb Biotechnol. 2017 Mar;10(2):371-380. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.12453. Epub 2016 Nov 17.

Microbial synthesis of a novel terpolyester P(LA-co-3HB-co-3HP) from low-cost substrates.

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Center for Synthetic and Systems Biology, School of Life Science, Tsinghua-Peking Center for Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China.
Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, 510530, People's Republic of China.
Center for Nano and Micro Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China.
MOE Key Lab of Industrial Biocatalysis, Dept Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China.


Polylactide (PLA) is a bio-based plastic commonly synthesized by chemical catalytic reaction using lactic acid (LA) as a substrate. Here, novel LA-containing terpolyesters, namely, P[LA-co-3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB)-co-3-hydroxypropionate (3HP)], short as PLBP, were successfully synthesized for the first time by a recombinant Escherichia coli harbouring polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthase from Pseudomonas stutzeri (PhaC1Ps ) with 4-point mutations at E130D, S325T, S477G and Q481K, and 3-hydroxypropionyl-CoA (3HP-CoA) synthesis pathway from glycerol, 3-hydroxybutyryl-CoA (3HB-CoA) as well as lactyl-CoA (LA-CoA) pathways from glucose. Combining these pathways with the PHA synthase mutant phaC1Ps (E130D S325T S477G Q481K), the random terpolyester P(LA-co-3HB-co-3HP), or PLBP, was structurally confirmed by nuclear magnetic resonance to consist of 2 mol% LA, 90 mol% 3HB, and 8 mol% 3HP respectively. Remarkably, the PLBP terpolyester was produced from low-cost sustainable glycerol and glucose. Monomer ratios of PLBP could be regulated by ratios of glycerol to glucose. Other terpolyester thermal and mechanical properties can be manipulated by adjusting the monomer ratios. More PLBP applications are to be expected.

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