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Improved production of ectoine and other oxaloacetate derivatives

Ref-Nr: TA-B77190


  • Organic molecule ectoine confers protective properties
  • Higher yield due to genetic manipulations of bacteria  H. elongata
  • Broad application in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry


The natural product ectoine is a highly soluble organic molecule that belongs to the group of "extremolytes". Extremolytes are small stress protective molecules that protect microorganisms and plants from the hostile conditions of their habitats (salt lakes, hot springs, arctic ice, deserts, deep sea etc.). Ectoine is produced by the extremophile, halophilic bacteria Halomonas elongata (H. elongata). H. elongata can tolerate extreme salt concentrations, temperature fluctuations from 4° C to 45° C, hydrogen ion concentrations from pH 5 to 10, and growth under aerobic as well as anaerobic conditions with utilization of various nitrogen and carbon sources. Over the last years, there has been considerable interest from the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry in ectoine. Due to its hydrating and protective effect, it is used as an active ingredient in different product classes, e.g. cosmetic skin care and for the supportive treatment of inflammatory diseases of the skin and mucous membranes, e.g. neurodermatitis, psoriasis, eczema.

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The invention describes a method for improved production of ectoine and other oxaloacetate derivatives such as the Nγ-acetyl-L-2,4-diaminobutyric acid (NADA). To increase the yield of ectoine produced by fermentation, mutations were introduced in specific metabolic enzymes important for ectoine production, ectoine transport, and oxaloacetate metabolism into H. elongata. Upon genetic manipulations, the newly produced bacterial strains result in a 50% more efficient production of ectoine compared to the parent wild-type H. elongata strain.


  • Stable genetic manipulation of halophilic bacteria H. elongata strain
  • Increased yield of ectoine compared to conventional strain
  • Wide application potential for cosmetic industry

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