Isoamyl acetate, produced via fermentation, is a natural flavor chemical with applications in the food industry. Two alcohol acetyltransferases from Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ATF1 and ATF2) can catalyze the esterification of isoamyl alcohol with acetyl coenzyme A. The respective genes were cloned and expressed in an appropriate ack-pta(-) strain of Escherichia coli. The engineered strains produce isoamyl acetate when isoamyl alcohol is added to the culture medium. Aerobic shake flask experiments examined isoamyl acetate production over various growth times, temperatures, and initial optical densities. The strain carrying the pBAD-ATF1 plasmid exhibited a high molar ester yield from glucose (1.13) after 48 h of aerobic growth at 25 degrees C. Low-cost media components, such as fusel oil, sorghum glucose and corn steep liquor, were found to give a high yield of isoamyl acetate. High-cell-density gave an increased isoamyl acetate yield of 0.18 g/g of glucose consumed.