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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Synthesis of 3-tert-butylcatechol by an engineered monooxygenase.

Recombinant Escherichia coli JM101 was used for the in vivo biocatalytic synthesis of 3-tert-butyl- catechol. The bacterial strain synthesized the laboratory-evolved variant HbpA(T2) of 2-hydroxybiphenyl 3-monooxygenase (HbpA, EC from Pseudomonas azelaica HBP1. The mutant enzyme HbpA(T2) is able to hydroxylate 2-tert-butylphenol to the corresponding catechol, a reaction that is not catalyzed by the wild-type enzyme. The biotransformation was performed in a 3-L bioreactor for 24 h. To mitigate the toxicity of the 2-tert-butylphenol starting material, we applied a limited substrate feed. Continuous in situ product removal with the hydrophobic resin Amberlite XAD-4 was used to separate the product from culture broth. In addition, binding to the resin stabilized the product, which was important because 3-tert-butylcatechol is very labile in aqueous solution. The productivity of the process was 63 mg L(-1) h(-1) so that after 24 h, 3.0 g of 3-tert-butylcatechol were isolated. Down-stream processing consisted of two steps. First, bound 2-tert-butylphenol and 3-tert-butylcatechol were eluted from Amberlite XAD-4 with methanol. Second, the two compounds were separated over neutral aluminum oxide, which selectively binds the produced catechol but not the phenol substrate. The final purity of 3-tert-butylcatechol was greater than 98%.[1]


  1. Synthesis of 3-tert-butylcatechol by an engineered monooxygenase. Meyer, A., Held, M., Schmid, A., Kohler, H.P., Witholt, B. Biotechnol. Bioeng. (2003) [Pubmed]
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