Prospective CO2 and CO bioconversion into ectoines using novel microbial platforms

Sara Cantera*, Daniel Tamarit, Peter James Strong, Irene Sánchez-Andrea, Thijs J.G. Ettema, Diana Z. Sousa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial conversion of CO2 and CO into chemicals is a promising route that can contribute to the cost-effective reduction of anthropogenic green house and waste gas emissions and create a more circular economy. However, the biotechnological valorization of CO2 and CO into chemicals is still restricted by the limited number of model microorganisms implemented, and the small profit margin of the products synthesized. This perspective paper intends to explore the genetic potential for the microbial conversion of CO2 and CO into ectoines, in a tentative to broaden bioconversion platforms and the portfolio of products from C1 gas fermentations. Ectoine and hydroxyectoine can be produced by microorganisms growing at high salinity. They are high-value commodities for the pharmaceutical and medical sectors (1000–1200 €/kg). Currently microbial ectoine production is based on sugar fermentations, but expansion to other more sustainable and cheaper substrates is desirable. In this work, a literature review to identify halophilic microbes able to use CO2 and CO as a carbon source was performed. Subsequently, genomes of this poll of microbes were mined for genes that encode for ectoine and hydroxyectoine synthesis (ectABCD, ask, asd and ask_ect). As a result, we identified a total of 31 species with the genetic potential to synthesize ectoine and 14 to synthesize hydroxyectoine. These microbes represent the basis for the creation of novel microbial-platforms that can promote the development of cost-effective and sustainable valorization chains of CO2 and CO in different industrial scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-581
JournalReviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2022


  • Bioconversion
  • Circular economy
  • Gas fermentation
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Valuable compounds


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