Novel aspects of ethylene glycol catabolism

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2024 Jun 11;108(1):369. doi: 10.1007/s00253-024-13179-2.


Ethylene glycol (EG) is an industrially important two-carbon diol used as a solvent, antifreeze agent, and building block of polymers such as poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET). Recently, the use of EG as a starting material for the production of bio-fuels or bio-chemicals is gaining attention as a sustainable process since EG can be derived from materials not competing with human food stocks including CO2, syngas, lignocellulolytic biomass, and PET waste. In order to design and construct microbial process for the conversion of EG to value-added chemicals, microbes capable of catabolizing EG such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas putida, Rhodococcus jostii, Ideonella sakaiensis, Paracoccus denitrificans, and Acetobacterium woodii are candidates of chassis for the construction of synthetic pathways. In this mini-review, we describe EG catabolic pathways and catabolic enzymes in these microbes, and further review recent advances in microbial conversion of EG to value-added chemicals by means of metabolic engineering. KEY POINTS: • Ethylene glycol is a potential next-generation feedstock for sustainable industry. • Microbial conversion of ethylene glycol to value-added chemicals is gaining attention. • Ethylene glycol-utilizing microbes are useful as chassis for synthetic pathways.

Keywords: Ethylene glycol; Glycerate pathway; PET; Sustainable process; Β-Hydroxyaspartate cycle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biofuels
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Ethylene Glycol* / metabolism
  • Metabolic Engineering*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Pseudomonas putida / metabolism


  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Biofuels