Cyanobacteria are attractive microbial hosts for production of chemicals using light and CO2. However, their low productivity of chemicals is a major challenge for commercial applications. This is mostly due to their relatively slow growth rate and carbon partitioning toward biomass rather than products. Many cyanobacterial strains synthesize sucrose as an osmoprotectant to cope with salt stress environments. In this study, we harnessed the photosynthetic machinery of the fast-growing cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973 to produce sucrose under salt stress conditions and investigated if the high efficiency of photosynthesis can enhance the productivity of sucrose. By expressing the sucrose transporter CscB, Synechococcus 2973 produced 8 g L−1 of sucrose with a highest productivity of 1.9 g L−1 day−1 under salt stress conditions. The salt stress activated the sucrose biosynthetic pathway mostly via upregulating the sps gene, which encodes the rate-limiting sucrose-phosphate synthase enzyme. To alleviate the demand on high concentrations of salt for sucrose production, we further overexpressed the sucrose synthesis genes in Synechococcus 2973. The engineered strain produced sucrose with a productivity of 1.1 g L−1 day−1 without the need of salt induction. The engineered Synechococcus 2973 in this study demonstrated the highest productivity of sucrose in cyanobacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number390
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced production of sucrose in the fast-growing cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this