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Whole Cell Biocatalysis of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural for Sustainable Biorefineries

CEB—Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
LABBELS—Associate Laboratory, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
Chemical Engineering Department, Science Faculty, University of Vigo, 32004 Ourense, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alessandra Palella and Lorenzo Spadaro
Catalysts 2022, 12(2), 202;
Received: 31 December 2021 / Revised: 26 January 2022 / Accepted: 6 February 2022 / Published: 8 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catalysis for Sustainable Refinery and Bio-Refinery)
The implementation of cost-effective and sustainable biorefineries to substitute the petroleum-based economy is dependent on coupling the production of bioenergy with high-value chemicals. For this purpose, the US Department of Energy identified a group of key target compounds to be produced from renewable biomass. Among them, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) can be obtained by dehydration of the hexoses present in biomass and is an extremely versatile molecule that can be further converted into a wide range of higher value compounds. HMF derivatives include 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan (BHMF), 5-hydroxymethyl-furan-2-carboxylic acid (HMFCA), 2,5-diformylfuran (DFF), 5-formyl-2-furancarboxylic acid (FFCA) and 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), all presenting valuable applications, in polymers, bioplastics and pharmaceuticals. Biocatalysis conversion of HMF into its derivatives emerges as a green alternative, taking into account the high selectivity of enzymes and the mild reaction conditions used. Considering these factors, this work reviews the use of microorganisms as whole-cell biocatalysts for the production of HMF derivatives. In the last years, a large number of whole-cell biocatalysts have been discovered and developed for HMF conversion into BHMF, FDCA and HMFCA, however there are no reports on microbial production of DFF and FFCA. While the production of BHMF and HMFCA mainly relies on wild type microorganisms, FDCA production, which requires multiple bioconversion steps from HMF, is strongly dependent on genetic engineering strategies. Together, the information gathered supports the possibility for the development of cell factories to produce high-value compounds, envisioning economical viable biorefineries. View Full-Text
Keywords: whole-cell biocatalysts; 5-hydroxymethylfurfural derivatives; bioconversion; biorefinery whole-cell biocatalysts; 5-hydroxymethylfurfural derivatives; bioconversion; biorefinery
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cunha, J.T.; Romaní, A.; Domingues, L. Whole Cell Biocatalysis of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural for Sustainable Biorefineries. Catalysts 2022, 12, 202.

AMA Style

Cunha JT, Romaní A, Domingues L. Whole Cell Biocatalysis of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural for Sustainable Biorefineries. Catalysts. 2022; 12(2):202.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cunha, Joana T., Aloia Romaní, and Lucília Domingues. 2022. "Whole Cell Biocatalysis of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural for Sustainable Biorefineries" Catalysts 12, no. 2: 202.

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