Benchmarking recombinant Pichia pastoris for 3-hydroxypropionic acid production from glycerol

Albert Fina, Gabriela Coelho Brêda, Míriam Pérez-Trujillo, Denise Maria Guimarães Freire, Rodrigo Volcan Almeida, Joan Albiol, Pau Ferrer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The use of the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris (Komagataella phaffi) to produce heterologous proteins has been largely reported. However, investigations addressing the potential of this yeast to produce bulk chemicals are still scarce. In this study, we have studied the use of P. pastoris as a cell factory to produce the commodity chemical 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP) from glycerol. 3-HP is a chemical platform which can be converted into acrylic acid and to other alternatives to petroleum-based products. To this end, the mcr gene from Chloroflexus aurantiacus was introduced into P. pastoris. This single modification allowed the production of 3-HP from glycerol through the malonyl-CoA pathway. Further enzyme and metabolic engineering modifications aimed at increasing cofactor and metabolic precursors availability allowed a 14-fold increase in the production of 3-HP compared to the initial strain. The best strain (PpHP6) was tested in a fed-batch culture, achieving a final concentration of 3-HP of 24.75 g l−1, a product yield of 0.13 g g−1 and a volumetric productivity of 0.54 g l−1 h−1, which, to our knowledge, is the highest volumetric productivity reported in yeast. These results benchmark P. pastoris as a promising platform to produce bulk chemicals for the revalorization of crude glycerol and, in particular, to produce 3-HP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2021


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