Production of 2-phenylethanol and 2-phenylethylacetate from L-phenylalanine by coupling whole-cell biocatalysis with organophilic pervaporation

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2005 Dec 5;92(5):624-34. doi: 10.1002/bit.20655.


An integrated bioprocess for the production of the natural rose-like aroma compounds, 2-phenylethanol (2-PE) and 2-phenylethylacetate (2-PEAc), from L-phenylalanine (L-phe) with yeasts was investigated. The hydrophobicity of the products leads to product inhibition, which can be compensated by in situ product removal (ISPR). An organophilic pervaporation unit, equipped with a polyoctylmethylsiloxane (POMS) membrane, was coupled via a bypass to a bioreactor and proved to be a suitable technique for the in situ removal of high-boiling products from culture broth. With batch cultures of the thermotolerant yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus CBS 600 in a standard medium at 35 degrees C, the use of pervaporation resulted in a double 2-PE concentration (2.2 g/L) and 1.3 g/L 2-PEAc, which only accumulated transiently in low concentrations during cultivation without ISPR. Using a previously optimized medium, the variation of the temperature from 30 degrees C to 40 degrees C caused an increase in the total conversion yield from 63% to 79%, corresponding to total product concentrations of 5.23 and 5.85 g/L, respectively. In the 40 degrees C batch experiment, the volumetric productivity (2-PE + 2-PEAc) during the exponential phase was 5.2 mmol/L h. While for 2-PE, there is still potential for further optimization, the more hydrophobic 2-PEAc was nearly completely removed from the aqueous culture broth (enrichment factor >400), resulting in highly aroma-enriched permeates. Due to the temperature-correlated performance of the pervaporation, the bioconversion was still efficient even at 45 degrees C (conversion yield: 69%). Surprisingly, at 45 degrees C, the molar ratio of the two products inverted and 2-PEAc turned out to be the main product (4.0 g/L), which opens easy control of the reaction's selectivity by external means. Retrofitting the process with interim heating and cooling equipment to use different temperature levels for cultivation and pervaporation resulted in a decreased yield and product concentration caused by multiple stress factors. The medium composition affected the pervaporation efficiency with molasses acting detrimental.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism*
  • Catalysis
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Chemical Fractionation / methods*
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Kluyveromyces / metabolism*
  • Phenylalanine / metabolism*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / isolation & purification*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / metabolism*
  • Systems Integration
  • Temperature


  • Acetates
  • Phenylalanine
  • 2-phenylethyl acetate
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol