Journal Article Ammonia production from amino acid-based biomass-like sources by engineered Escherichia coli

Mikami, Yosuke  ,  Yoneda, Hisanari  ,  Tatsukami, Yohei  ,  Aoki, Wataru  ,  Ueda, Mitsuyoshi

72017-04-20 , Springer Nature
The demand for ammonia is expected to increase in the future because of its importance in agriculture, industry, and hydrogen transportation. Although the Haber–Bosch process is known as an effective way to produce ammonia, the process is energy-intensive. Thus, an environmentally friendly ammonia production process is desired. In this study, we aimed to produce ammonia from amino acids and amino acid-based biomass-like resources by modifying the metabolism of Escherichia coli. By engineering metabolic flux to promote ammonia production using the overexpression of the ketoisovalerate decarboxylase gene (kivd), derived from Lactococcus lactis, ammonia production from amino acids was 351 mg/L (36.6% yield). Furthermore, we deleted the glnA gene, responsible for ammonia assimilation. Using yeast extract as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen, the resultant strain produced 458 mg/L of ammonia (47.8% yield) from an amino acid-based biomass-like material. The ammonia production yields obtained are the highest reported to date. This study suggests that it will be possible to produce ammonia from waste biomass in an environmentally friendly process.

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