Campus Units

Mechanical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Bioeconomy Institute (BEI)

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology




The economic viability of the biorefinery concept is limited by the valorization of lignin. One possible method of lignin valorization is biological upgrading with aromatic-catabolic microbes. In conjunction, lignin monomers can be produced by fast pyrolysis and fractionation. However, biological upgrading of these lignin monomers is limited by low water solubility. Here, we address the problem of low water solubility with an emulsifier blend containing approximately 70 wt% Tween® 20 and 30 wt% Span® 80. Pseudomonas putida KT2440 grew to an optical density (OD600) of 1.0 ± 0.2 when supplied with 1.6 wt% emulsified phenolic monomer-rich product produced by fast pyrolysis of red oak using an emulsifier dose of 0.076 ± 0.002 g emulsifier blend per g of phenolic monomer-rich product. This approach partially mitigated the toxicity of the model phenolic monomer p-coumarate to the microbe, but not benzoate or vanillin. This study provides a proof of concept that processing of biomass-derived phenolics to increase aqueous availability can enhance microbial utilization.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Davis, Kirsten, Marjorie R. Rover, Davinia Salvachúa, Ryan G. Smith, Gregg T. Beckham, Zhiyou Wen, Robert C. Brown, and Laura R. Jarboe. "Promoting microbial utilization of phenolic substrates from bio-oil." Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology (2019). DOI: 10.1007/s10295-019-02208-z. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology



File Format


Available for download on Saturday, July 04, 2020

Published Version