Direct Conversion of CO2 to α-Farnesene Using Metabolically Engineered Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942

Hyun Jeong Lee, Jiwon Lee, Sun Mi Lee, Youngsoon Um, Yunje Kim, Sang Jun Sim, Jong Il Choi, Han Min Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Direct conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to value-added chemicals by engineering of cyanobacteria has received attention as a sustainable strategy in food and chemical industries. Herein, Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, a model cyanobacterium, was engineered to produce α-farnesene from CO2. As a result of the lack of farnesene synthase (FS) activity in the wild-type cyanobacterium, we metabolically engineered S. elongatus PCC 7942 to express heterologous FS from either Norway spruce or apple fruit, resulting in detectable peaks of α-farnesene. To enhance α-farnesene production, an optimized methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway was introduced in the farnesene-producing strain to supply farnesyl diphosphate. Subsequent cyanobacterial culture with a dodecane overlay resulted in photosynthetic production of α-farnesene (4.6 ± 0.4 mg/L in 7 days) from CO2. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the photosynthetic production of α-farnesene from CO2 in the unicellular cyanobacterium S. elongatus PCC 7942.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10424-10428
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 6

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31600649, 81373292) and Key Projects of Technological Innovation of Hubei Province (No. 2016ACA138).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • CO conversion
  • cyanobacteria
  • farnesene
  • metabolic engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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