Biological conversion of propane to 2-propanol using group I and II methanotrophs as biocatalysts

  • Thu Thi Nguyen
  • In Yeub Hwang
  • Jeong Geol NaEmail author
  • Eun Yeol LeeEmail author
Bioenergy/Biofuels/Biochemicals - Original Paper


Propane is the main component of liquefied petroleum gas and is derived from crude oil processing. Methanotrophic bacteria can convert various alkanes using methane monooxygenase enzyme to primary alcohols. These are further oxidized to various aldehydes by alcohol dehydrogenases or methanol dehydrogenases. In this study, 2-propanol was produced from propane using the whole cells of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b, Methylomicrobium alcaliphilum 20Z, and Methylomonas sp. DH-1 as the biocatalysts. The biocatalytic process of converting propane to 2-propanol was optimized by the use of several inhibitors and additives, such as EDTA, sodium phosphate, and sodium formate to prevent oxidation of 2-propanol to acetone and to enhance conversion of propane to propanol. The maximum titer of 2-propanol was 0.424 g/L, 0.311 g/L, and 0.610 g/L for Methylomonas sp. DH-1, M. alcaliphilum 20Z, and M. trichosporium OB3b whole cells, respectively. These results showed that type I and type II methanotrophs could be used as the potent biocatalyst for conversion of propane to propanol.


Methylomonas sp. DH-1 M. trichosporium OB3b Methane monooxygenase 2-Propanol Propane 



This research was supported by the C1 Gas Refinery Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2015M3D3A1A01064882).

Author contributions

TTN performed the experiments and prepared a draft of the manuscript. JGN and IYH reviewed and edited the manuscript. EYL coordinated the study and finalized the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringKyung Hee UniversityYonginRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringSogang UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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