Acrylate metabolism in Megasphaera elsdenii
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Acrylic acid (CH2=CH-COOH) is a commodity chemical with an annual production of about four million tonnes. Thioester derivatives of acrylate are metabolic intermediates in organisms using the “acrylate pathway”. Megasphaera elsdenii and Clostridium propionicum metabolize lactate into propionate via the acrylate pathway by catabolizing lactate sequentially through lactyl-CoA, acrylyl-CoA, propionyl-CoA and propionate. The first and last reactions are catalyzed by a single CoA transferase, propionyl-CoA transferase. The goal of this study was to characterize these bacteria in the presence of acrylate. These organisms or the enzymes involved in acrylate metabolism could be important routes to industrial acrylate production.