News from Nanotechjapan


Production of Functional Chemicals from Wood Lignin by Using Enzymes Derived from a Marine Bacterial Strain---New Development of White Biotechnology---

 Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Kyoto University, National De-fense Academy, Saitama Institute of Technology, and Japan Science and Technology Agency announced on December 20, 2016 that a study group led by Dr. Yukari Ohta at Research and Development Center for Marine Biosciences, JAMSTEC has succeeded in producing phenylpropanone monomers from natu-ral lignin isolated from wood by using multiple enzymes derived from a marine bacterial strain. The work was supported by Advanced Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program (ALCA) of JST, and details were published in a scientific journal ChemSusChem*.

 Lignin, a chemical compound often found in non-editable biomass, e.g. wood, presents a potential to replace fossil resources. Enzymatic catalysis is an ecofriendly strategy for the production of aromatic compounds from lignin, however, enzymatic-selective synthesis of platform monomers from natural lig-nin has not been accomplished.

 The study group successfully demonstrated a simple method of chemical conversions for the synthesis of wood-lignin-derived phenylpropanone monomers in one pot by using a cascade reaction of β-O-4-cleaving bacterial enzymes derived from a marine bacterial strain. The resulting product has been shown to be applied to produce bio-plastics and other functional chemicals such as medicines, functional foods and cosmetics.

*Yukari Ohta, Ryoichi Hasegawa, Kanako Kurosawa, Allyn H. Maeda, Toshio Koizumi, Hiroshi Nishimura, Hitomi Okada, Chen Qu, Kaori Saito, Takashi Watanabe, and Yuji Hatada, "Enzymatic Specific Production and Chemical Functionalization of Phenylpropanone Platform Monomers from Lignin", ChemSusChem, Early View, DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201601235; First published: 16 December 2016