An engineered pathway for the biosynthesis of renewable propane

Pauli Kallio, András Pásztor, Kati Thiel, M. Kalim Akhtar, Patrik R. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


The deployment of next-generation renewable biofuels can be enhanced by improving their compatibility with the current infrastructure for transportation, storage and utilization. Propane, the bulk component of liquid petroleum gas, is an appealing target as it already has a global market. In addition, it is a gas under standard conditions, but can easily be liquefied. This allows the fuel to immediately separate from the biocatalytic process after synthesis, yet does not preclude energy-dense storage as a liquid. Here we report, for the first time, a synthetic metabolic pathway for producing renewable propane. The pathway is based on a thioesterase specific for butyryl-acyl carrier protein (ACP), which allows native fatty acid biosynthesis of the Escherichia coli host to be redirected towards a synthetic alkane pathway. Propane biosynthesis is markedly stimulated by the introduction of an electron-donating module, optimizing the balance of O2 supply and removal of native aldehyde reductases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4731
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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