Production of Adipic Acid from Sugar Beet Residue by Combined Biological and Chemical Catalysis

Hongfang Zhang, Xiukai Li, Xiaoyun Su, Ee Lui Ang, Yugen Zhang, Huimin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adipic acid is one of the most important industrial dicarboxylic acids and is used mainly as a precursor to nylon-6,6. Currently, commercial adipic acid is produced primarily from benzene by a chemical route that is associated with environmental, health, and safety concerns. Herein, we report a new process to produce adipic acid from an inexpensive renewable feedstock, sugar beet residue by combining an engineered Escherichia coli strain and Re-based chemical catalysts. The engineered E.coli converted d-galacturonic acid to mucic acid, which was precipitated easily with acid, and the mucic acid was further converted to adipic acid by a deoxydehydration reaction catalyzed by an oxorhenium complex followed by a Pt/C-catalyzed hydrogenation reaction under mild conditions. A high selectivity to the free acid products was achieved by tuning the acidity of the Re-based catalysts. Finally, adipic acid was produced directly from sugar beet residue that was hydrolyzed enzymatically with engineered E.coli and two chemical catalysts in a yield of 8.4 %, which signifies a new route for the production of adipic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1500-1506
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 20 2016


  • biocatalysis
  • biomass
  • gene technology
  • homogeneous catalysis
  • rhenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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