Corynebacterium glutamicum as an Efficient Omnivorous Microbial Host for the Bioconversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass

Apurv Mhatre, Somnath Shinde, Amit Kumar Jha, Alberto Rodriguez, Zohal Wardak, Abigail Jansen, John M. Gladden, Anthe George, Ryan W. Davis, Arul M. Varman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Corynebacterium glutamicum has been successfully employed for the industrial production of amino acids and other bioproducts, partially due to its native ability to utilize a wide range of carbon substrates. We demonstrated C. glutamicum as an efficient microbial host for utilizing diverse carbon substrates present in biomass hydrolysates, such as glucose, arabinose, and xylose, in addition to its natural ability to assimilate lignin-derived aromatics. As a case study to demonstrate its bioproduction capabilities, L-lactate was chosen as the primary fermentation end product along with acetate and succinate. C. glutamicum was found to grow well in different aromatics (benzoic acid, cinnamic acid, vanillic acid, and p-coumaric acid) up to a concentration of 40 mM. Besides, 13C-fingerprinting confirmed that carbon from aromatics enter the primary metabolism via TCA cycle confirming the presence of β-ketoadipate pathway in C. glutamicum. 13C-fingerprinting in the presence of both glucose and aromatics also revealed coumarate to be the most preferred aromatic by C. glutamicum contributing 74 and 59% of its carbon for the synthesis of glutamate and aspartate respectively. 13C-fingerprinting also confirmed the activity of ortho-cleavage pathway, anaplerotic pathway, and cataplerotic pathways. Finally, the engineered C. glutamicum strain grew well in biomass hydrolysate containing pentose and hexose sugars and produced L-lactate at a concentration of 47.9 g/L and a yield of 0.639 g/g from sugars with simultaneous utilization of aromatics. Succinate and acetate co-products were produced at concentrations of 8.9 g/L and 3.2 g/L, respectively. Our findings open the door to valorize all the major carbon components of biomass hydrolysate by using C. glutamicum as a microbial host for biomanufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number827386
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • C-fingerprinting
  • L-lactate
  • lignin-derived aromatics
  • lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysate
  • mixed-acid fermentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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