Scientists Reveal Importance of Acetobacterium in Anaerobic Biohydrogenation of 1,3-Butadiene to 1-Butene

Release Time:2023-03-01 Big Small

1,3-Butadiene (BD) is widely used in the production of rubber, thermoplastic resins, and nylon. Long-term exposure to BD contaminated environments can cause eye pain, blurred vision, cough and drowsiness, and increase the incidence of leukemia. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has included BD in the list of Class One Carcinogenic Substance to Humans. Therefore, clarifying the process and mechanism of BD microbial transformation can help to correctly assess the environmental risk of BD.

Research Scientists YANG Yi and YAN Jun of the Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences recently established a BD anaerobic biotransformation microcosm using river sediment as the inoculation source. 

They found that in the microcosmic system BD underwent a hydrogenation reaction and was rapidly converted to 1-butene with concomitant acetate production and a growing population of Acetobacterium. The researchers successfully assembled a 94% complete Acetobacterium genome sketch through metagenomic sequencing and bioinformation analysis, and found that the dominant Acetobacterium population was a new strain of species A. wieringae, which was designated as strain N.

The genome of strain N contains multiple genes encoding flavoprotein oxidoreductases and short-chain dehydrogenases/reductases, and the researchers believed that these genes possibly involved in the anaerobic biohydrogenation of BD. 

This study reveals for the first time the importance of Acetobacterium in BD transformation. In addition, the study indicates that mining the hydrogenase-related genes may provide a new route for the development of efficient biocatalysts for the industrial conversion of BD to 1-butene. 

This study has been published in Environmental Science & Technology entitled "Biohydrogenation of 1,3-Butadiene to 1-Butene under Acetogenic Conditions by Acetobacterium wieringae" and was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Key Research Program of CAS for Frontier Sciences, etc.