BACKGROUND: Consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) technique is a promising strategy for biorefinery construction, producing bulk chemicals directly from plant biomass without extra hydrolysis steps. Fixing and channeling CO2 into carbon metabolism for increased carbon efficiency in producing value-added compounds is another strategy for cost-effective bio-manufacturing. It has not been reported whether these two strategies can be combined in one microbial platform.
RESULTS: In this study, using the cellulolytic thermophilic fungus Myceliophthora thermophila, we designed and constructed a novel biorefinery system DMCC (Direct microbial conversion of biomass with CO2 fixation) through incorporating two CO2 fixation modules, PYC module and Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) pathway. Harboring the both modules, the average rate of fixing and channeling 13CO2 into malic acid in strain CP51 achieved 44.4, 90.7, and 80.7 mg/L/h, on xylose, glucose, and cellulose, respectively. The corresponding titers of malic acid were up to 42.1, 70.4, and 70.1 g/L, respectively, representing the increases of 40%, 10%, and 7%, respectively, compared to the parental strain possessing only PYC module. The DMCC system was further improved by enhancing the pentose uptake ability. Using raw plant biomass as the feedstock, yield of malic acid produced by the DMCC system was up to 0.53 g/g, with 13C content of 0.44 mol/mol malic acid, suggesting DMCC system can produce 1 t of malic acid from 1.89 t of biomass and fix 0.14 t CO2 accordingly.
CONCLUSIONS: This study designed and constructed a novel biorefinery system named DMCC, which can convert raw plant biomass and CO2 into organic acid efficiently, presenting a promising strategy for cost-effective production of value-added compounds in biorefinery. The DMCC system is one of great options for realization of carbon neutral economy.