Design and investigation of a photocatalytic setup for efficient biotransformations within recombinant cyanobacteria in continuous flow

Alessia Valotta*, Lenny Malihan-Yap, Kerstin Hinteregger, Robert Kourist, Heidrun Gruber-Wölfler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photo- and biocatalysis show many advantages as more sustainable solutions for the production of fine chemicals. In an effort to combine the benefits and the knowledge of both these areas, a continuous photobiocatalytic setup was designed and optimized to carry out whole-cell biotransformations within cells of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 expressing the gene of the ene-reductase YqjM from B. subtilis. The effect of the light intensity and flow rate on the specific activity in the stereoselective reduction of 2-methyl maleimide was investigated via a design-of-experiments approach. The cell density in the setup was further increased at the optimal operating conditions without loss in specific activity, demonstrating that the higher surface area/volume ratio in the coil reactor improved the illumination efficiency of the process. Furthermore, different reactor designs were compared, proving that the presented approach was the most cost- and time-effective solution for intensifying photobiotransformations within cyanobacterial cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202201468
Issue number22
Early online date7 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2022


  • biocatalysis
  • continuous flow
  • cyanobacteria
  • photobiocatalysis
  • photosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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