Biotechnological production of l-ribose from l-arabinose

M. Helanto (Corresponding Author), K. Kiviharju, Tom Granström, Matti Leisola, Antti Nyyssölä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


l-Ribose is a rare and expensive sugar that can be used as a precursor for the production of l-nucleoside analogues, which are used as antiviral drugs. In this work, we describe a novel way of producing l-ribose from the readily available raw material l-arabinose. This was achieved by introducing l-ribose isomerase activity into l-ribulokinase-deficient Escherichia coli UP1110 and Lactobacillus plantarum BPT197 strains. The process for l-ribose production by resting cells was investigated. The initial l-ribose production rates at 39°C and pH 8 were 0.46 ± 0.01 g g−1 h−1 (1.84 ± 0.03 g l−1 h−1) and 0.27 ± 0.01 g g−1 h−1 (1.91 ± 0.1 g l−1 h−1) for E. coli and for L. plantarum, respectively. Conversions were around 20% at their highest in the experiments. Also partially purified protein precipitates having both l-arabinose isomerase and l-ribose isomerase activity were successfully used for converting l-arabinose to l-ribose.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • l-Arabinose
  • l-Ribose
  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Pentose metabolism

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