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Keywords:

  • Amycolatopsis sp. ATCC 39116;
  • bioconversion;
  • ferulic acid;
  • vanillin;
  • two-phase partitioning bioreactor;
  • Hytrel G4078W

Amycolatopsis sp. ATCC 39116 (formerly Streptomyces setonii) has shown promising results in converting ferulic acid (trans-4-hydroxy-3-methoxycinnamic acid; substrate), which can be derived from natural plant wastes, to vanillin (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde). After exploring the influence of adding vanillin at different times during the growth cycle on cell growth and transformation performance of this strain and demonstrating the inhibitory effect of vanillin, a solid–liquid two-phase partitioning bioreactor (TPPB) system was used as an in situ product removal technique to enhance transformation productivity by this strain. The thermoplastic polymer Hytrel® G4078W was found to have superior partitioning capacity for vanillin with a partition coefficient of 12 and a low affinity for the substrate. A 3-L working volume solid–liquid fed-batch TPPB mode, using 300 g Hytrel G4078W as the sequestering phase, produced a final vanillin concentration of 19.5 g/L. The overall productivity of this reactor system was 450 mg/L. h, among the highest reported in literature. Vanillin was easily and quantitatively recovered from the polymers mostly by single stage extraction into methanol or other organic solvents used in food industry, simultaneously regenerating polymer beads for reuse. A polymer–liquid two phase bioreactor was again confirmed to easily outperform single phase systems that feature inhibitory or easily further degraded substrates/products. This enhancement strategy might reasonably be expected in the production of other flavor and fragrance compounds obtained by biotransformations. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 30:207–214, 2014