In vitro reconstitution and characterisation of the oxidative d-xylose pathway for production of organic acids and alcohols

Harry Boer (Corresponding Author), Martina Andberg, Robert Pylkkänen, Hannu Maaheimo, Anu Koivula

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    The oxidative d-xylose pathway, i.e. Dahms pathway, can be utilised to produce from cheap biomass raw material useful chemical intermediates. In vitro metabolic pathways offer a fast way to study the rate-limiting steps and find the most suitable enzymes for each reaction. We have constructed here in vitro multi-enzyme cascades leading from d-xylose or d-xylonolactone to ethylene glycol, glycolic acid and lactic acid, and use simple spectrophotometric assays for the read-out of the efficiency of these pathways. Based on our earlier results, we focussed particularly on the less studied xylonolactone ring opening (hydrolysis) reaction. The bacterial Caulobacter crescentus lactonase (Cc XylC), was shown to be a metal-dependent enzyme clearly improving the formation of d-xylonic acid at pH range from 6 to 8. The following dehydration reaction by the ILVD/EDD family d-xylonate dehydratase is a rate-limiting step in the pathway, and an effort was made to screen for novel enolase family d-xylonate dehydratases, however, no suitable replacing enzymes were found for this reaction. Concerning the oxidation of glycolaldehyde to glycolic acid, several enzyme candidates were also tested. Both Escherichia coli aldehyde dehydrogenase (Ec AldA) and Azospirillum brasilense α-ketoglutarate semialdehyde dehydrogenase (Ab AraE) proved to be suitable enzymes for this reaction.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number48
    JournalAMB Express
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    This work received support from the Academy of Finland through the following projects SA-IV4SP (Decision Number 118573) and SA-ENGBIOCAT (Decision Number 288677).


    • Dahms pathway
    • Ethylene glycol
    • Glycolate
    • In vitro enzyme pathway
    • Lactate
    • Lactonase


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