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N-alkylated amino acids are intermediates of natural biological pathways and can be found incorporated in peptides or have physiological roles in their free form. The N-ethylated amino acid l-theanine shows taste-enhancing properties and health benefits. It naturally occurs in green tea as major free amino acid. Isolation of l-theanine from Camilla sinensis shows low efficiency, and chemical synthesis results in a racemic mixture. Therefore, biochemical approaches for the production of l-theanine gain increasing interest. Here, we describe metabolic engineering of Pseudomonas putida KT2440 for the fermentative production of l-theanine from monoethylamine and carbon sources glucose, glycerol, or xylose using heterologous enzymes from Methylorubrum extorquens for l-theanine production and heterologous enzymes from Caulobacter crescentus for growth with xylose. l-Theanine (15.4 mM) accumulated in shake flasks with minimal medium containing monoethylamine and glucose, 15.2 mM with glycerol and 7 mM with xylose. Fed-batch bioreactor cultures yielded l-theanine titers of 10 g L-1 with glucose plus xylose, 17.2 g L-1 with glycerol, 4 g L-1 with xylose, and 21 g L-1 with xylose plus glycerol, respectively. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first l-theanine process using P. putida and the first compatible with the use of various alternative carbon sources.


Leonie Benninghaus, Tatjana Walter, Melanie Mindt, Joe Max Risse, Volker F Wendisch. Metabolic Engineering of Pseudomonas putida for Fermentative Production of l-Theanine. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2021 Sep 01;69(34):9849-9858

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PMID: 34465093

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