SYM-03: Engineering Biology / Synthetic Biology


Zhi Li

National University of Singapore, Singapore

Microbial cells are useful factories for the productions of chemical compounds. While many cell-based bioproductions of bulk chemicals and fuels have been well developed, the engineering of microbial cells to enable non-natural cascade reactions for synthesizing high-value chemicals, such as chiral pharmaceutical intermediates, has received increasing attention. In this presentation, our recently engineered whole-cell cascade biocatalysis systems for the synthesis of several valuable and useful classes of enantiopure chemicals from easily available substrates including renewable feedstock will be highlighted. Examples are the asymmetric functionalization of alkenes or L-phenylalanine to 1,2-vicinal diols, alphahydroxyacids, alpha-aminoacids, and 1,2-aminoalchol. [1-3] These whole-cell based biotransformations are simple, one-pot, high-yielding, green, and sustainable, which avoid the expensive isolation of intermediates, the generation of large amount of wastes, and the use of toxic reagents/metal in the traditional multi-step chemical synthesis.

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