Method for producing methacrylic acid and/or ester thereof

To provide a method for straight and efficiently producing methacrylic acid in a single step from renewable raw materials and/or biomass arising from the utilization of the renewable raw materials. Further provided is a method for producing methacrylic acid with microbes having the capability to produce methacrylic acid, from renewable raw materials and/or biomass arising from the utilization of the renewable raw materials, as a carbon source or energy source. The method for producing methacrylic acid empowers methacrylic acid to be safely and easily generated from biomass, without using petroleum-derived raw materials, by using microbes having the capability to produce methacrylic acid.


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Methacrylic acid is used as a raw material for paint or resin changing agent, and its esters are an industrially significantly important compound as a raw material such as acrylic resin.

As a method for chemical production of methacrylic acid derivatives, the ACH method intermediated by acetone cyanhydrin utilizing cyanide and acetone as a raw material, the C4 oxidation using isobutylene or tert-butanol as a raw material, and thelike are almost utilized. Those chemical production approaches rely on fossil fuels and require a large amount of energy.

Lately, from the standpoint of preventing global warming and environmental protection, use of renewable biogenous sources (renewable raw materials) as a carbon source for a substitute for fossil fuels of the associated art receives attention.For example, a method for producing 2-hydroxyisobutyric acid and 3-hydroxyisobutyric acid, which can be a precursor of methacrylic acid, from a natural product such as sugar utilizing microbes present in nature has been proposed (see, Patent Documents 1 and 2and Non-Patent Document 1). But, those methods still rely upon a chemical method concerning the process for producing methacrylic acid by breaking up using a precursor.

Further, although a way of producing methacrylic acid in sugar using a recombinant microbe introduced with plural receptor enzymes, which can be not exist in nature, has been suggested, it is a mere suggestion of straightforward mix between knownenzyme responses and fanciful enzyme reactions deduced therefrom, also has not been nearly proved (see, Patent Documents 3 to 5).

Meanwhile, as a naturally occurring microbe, a photosynthetic microbe with the ability to produce methacrylic acid is understood (Non-Patent Document 2). However, the photosynthetic microbe simply converts 3-mercaptoisobutyric acid, and this can be aspecial compound not present in nature, to methacrylic acid.

Further, in Patent Document 6, a way of generating an acrylic acid ester based on an act of a hydrolase in the presence of both Acryloyl-CoA and an alcohol is disclosed. It is advised in precisely the same literature a methacrylic acid estercan be similarly likewise generated. However, considering diversity and substrate specificity of an enzyme, it only shows an acrylic acid ester could be generated with few restricted hydrolases, and it remains unclear whether or not a methacrylicacid ester having another structure could be also similarly produced by the hydrolase. Additionally, it remains completely unsure whether or not production could be made with a different kind of receptor using another reaction mechanism. Further, whenan ester is synthesized with the hydrolase described in Patent Document 6, it’s expected that an ester generated is basically dissociated because of hydrolysis activity, and thus it’s difficult to be considered as an effective manufacturing method.

Meanwhile, alcohol acyl transferase (hereinbelow,”ATT”) is referred to as an enzyme for synthesis of sour taste. In Patent Document 7, a method for producing various esters as fruit taste by identifying the receptor of the identical enzyme, which iscontained in specific fruits, is proposed. On the other hand, the possibility of synthesizing a methacrylic acid ester using the receptor isn’t clarified and stays completely unclear.

As explained above, although several suggestions or discussions have been made, there’s absolutely no example showing real generation of methacrylic acid derivatives using microbes, and thus an effective manufacturing method has to be established.

IP reviewed by Plant-Grow agriculture technology news