Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 23, pp 9991–10004 | Cite as

Bioprocesses for 2-phenylethanol and 2-phenylethyl acetate production: current state and perspectives

  • Oscar Martínez-Avila
  • Antoni Sánchez
  • Xavier FontEmail author
  • Raquel Barrena


2-Phenylethanol (2-PE) and 2-phenethyl acetate (2-PEA) are valuable generally recognized as safe flavoring agents widely used in industry. Perfumes, pharmaceuticals, polishes, and personal care products, are some of the final products using these compounds as additives due to their rose-like odor. Also, 2-PE is used in disinfectants, pest control, and cleaning products due to its biocide capability. Although most of these additives production are derived from chemical synthesis, the current trend of consumers to prefer natural products has contributed to the development of biotechnological approaches as an alternative way to obtain natural 2-PE and 2-PEA. The most efficient route to bioproduce these compounds is through the bioconversion of L-phenylalanine via the Ehrlich pathway, and most of the advances have been focused on the development of this process. This review compiles the most recent developments in the biotechnological production of 2-PE and 2-PEA, indicating the most studied strains producing 2-PE and 2-PEA, the current advances in the in situ product recovery in liquid systems, an overview of the strain developments, and the progress in the use of residue-based systems. Future research should address the need for more sustainable and economic systems such as those using wastes as raw materials, as well as the scale-up of the proposed technologies.


Biotransformation 2-phenylethanol 2-phenethyl acetate Aroma compounds Ehrlich pathway 



Oscar Martínez thanks his PhD scholarship granted by the Colombian Government through Colciencias.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Project CTM2015-69513-R).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Composting Research group, Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. Escola d’EnginyeriaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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