Isopropanol biosynthesis from crude glycerol using fatty acid precursors via engineered oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica

Xiaoyu Shi, Hyeon Min Park, Minhye Kim, Myeong Eun Lee, Wu Young Jeong, Joonhee Chang, Byeong Hyeon Cho, Sung Ok Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Isopropanol is widely used as a biofuel and a disinfectant. Chemical preparation of isopropanol destroys the environment, which makes biological preparation of isopropanol necessary. Previous studies focused on the use of expensive glucose as raw material. Therefore, the microbial cell factory that ferments isopropanol with cheap raw materials will provide a greener way to produce isopropanol. Results: This study converted crude glycerol into isopropanol using Y. lipolytica. As a microbial factory, the active natural lipid and fatty acid synthesis pathway endows Y. lipolytica with high malonyl-CoA production capacity. Acetoacetyl-CoA synthase (nphT7) and isopropanol synthesis genes are integrated into the Y. lipolytica genome. The nphT7 gene uses the accumulated malonyl-CoA to synthesize acetoacetyl-CoA, which increases isopropanol production. After medium optimization, the best glycerol medium was found and resulted in a 4.47-fold increase in isopropanol production. Fermenter cultivation with pure glycerol medium resulted in a maximum isopropanol production of 1.94 g/L. In a crude glycerol fermenter, 1.60 g/L isopropanol was obtained, 82.53% of that achieved with pure glycerol. The engineered Y. lipolytica in this study has the highest isopropanol titer reported. Conclusions: The engineered Y. lipolytica successfully produced isopropanol by using crude glycerol as a cheap carbon source. This is the first study demonstrating the use of Y. lipolytica as a cell factory to produce isopropanol. In addition, this is also a new attempt to accumulate lipid synthesis precursors to synthesize other useful chemicals by integrating exogenous genes in Y. lipolytica.

Original languageEnglish
Article number168
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec


  • Crude glycerol
  • Isopropanol
  • Malonyl-CoA
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Yarrowia lipolytica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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