Bingyin Peng, Lars K. Nielsen, Claudia Vickers*


Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia


Terpenoids are the most diverse class of natural compounds and have many current and potential applications. They are universally built from 5-carbon (C) isoprene units, via the precursors isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) and/or dimethylally pyrophosphate (DMAPP). Monoterpenes (C10) and sesquiterpenes (C15) are of particular interest due to their many uses. They are found in plant essential oils, and are commonly used in industry as commodity chemicals and in daily life as pharmaceuticals, flavours and fragrances. As an alternative to extraction from plant sources or chemical synthesis, the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was engineered for their bulk production. In this work, the sequiterpene trans-nerolidol and the monoterpene limonene was produced as the target terpene products. To develop the high-production yeast platform, metabolic engineering was performed by applying the strategies: 1) enhancing the mevalonate pathway to augment C5 precursor synthesis; 2) coupling expression regulation to bioprocess conditions; and 3) constraining flux-competing reactions to redirect carbon flux toward the production of the targeted product [1, 2]. In particular, optimizing the transcriptional regulation pattern of heterologous metabolic genes is important for improved productivities of yeast platform; and protein destabilization was engineered an efficient approach to regulate flux-competing enzymes to constrain its consumption of a certain metabolic precursor. Combining these engineering strategies, in the final engineered strains, ~685 mg L-1 nerolidol and 76 mg L-1 limonene were produced from 20 g L-1 glucose. In fed-batch processes, 6 g L-1 nerolidol was produced. In conclusion, yeast has great potential for the commercial production of valued terpene products. Other plug-in combinatory engineering will further improve the yeast platform efficiency for profitable industrialization.  


1.         Peng, B., et al., Coupling gene regulatory patterns to bioprocess conditions to optimize synthetic metabolic modules for improved sesquiterpene production in yeast. Biotechnol Biofuels, 2017. 10: p. 43.

2.         Peng, B., et al., A squalene synthase protein degradation method for improved sesquiterpene production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Metabolic Engineering, 2017. 39: p. 209–219.


Biographic Details

Name: Bingyin Peng

Title: Mr.

Affiliation, Country: Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

Phone: +61 7 3346 3489 Fax: +61 7 3346 3973 E-mail:

Research interests: Metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, terpenoid synthesis