• free fatty acid production;
  • malonyl CoA-acyl carrier protein transacylase;
  • acyl-ACP thioesterases;
  • fatty acid composition;
  • E. coli


The microbial biosynthesis of free fatty acid, which can be used as precursors for the production of fuels or chemicals from renewable carbon sources, has attracted significant attention in recent years. Free fatty acids can be produced by introducing an acyl-carrier protein (ACP) thioesterase (TE) gene into Escherichia coli. The first committed step of fatty acid biosynthesis is the conversion of acetyl-CoA to malonyl-CoA by an adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent acetyl-CoA carboxylase followed by the conversion of malonyl-CoA to malonyl-ACP through the enzyme malonyl CoA-acyl carrier protein transacylase (MCT; FabD). The E. coli fabD gene encoding MCT has been cloned and studied. However, the effect of FabD overexpression in a fatty acid overproducing strain has not been examined. In this study, we examined the effect of FabD overexpression in a fatty acid overproducing strain carrying an acyl-ACP TE. Specifically, the effect of overexpressing a fabD gene from four different organisms on fatty acid production was compared. The strains carrying a fabD gene from E. coli, Streptomyces avermitilis MA-4680, or Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) improved the free fatty acid production; these three strains produced more free fatty acids, about 11% more, than the control strain. The strain carrying a fabD gene from Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824, however, produced similar quantities of free fatty acids as the control strain. In addition, the three FabD overexpressed strains also have higher fatty acid/glucose yields. The results suggested that FabD overexpression can be used to improve free fatty acid production by increasing the malonyl-ACP availability. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2012