Farnesol (FOH) production has been carried out in metabolically engineered Escherichia coli. FOH is formed through the depyrophosphorylation of farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP), which is synthesized from isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl pyrophosphate (DMAPP) by FPP synthase. In order to increase FPP synthesis, E. coli was metabolically engineered to overexpress ispA and to utilize the foreign mevalonate (MVA) pathway for the efficient synthesis of IPP and DMAPP. Two-phase culture using a decane overlay of the culture broth was applied to reduce volatile loss of FOH produced during culture and to extract FOH from the culture broth. A FOH production of 135.5 mg/L was obtained from the recombinant E. coli harboring the pTispA and pSNA plasmids for ispA overexpression and MVA pathway utilization, respectively. It is interesting to observe that a large amount of FOH could be produced from E. coli without FOH synthase by the augmentation of FPP synthesis. Introduction of the exogenous MVA pathway enabled the dramatic production of FOH by E. coli while no detectable FOH production was observed in the endogenous MEP pathway-only control. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2010;107: 421–429. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.