α-Arbutin (4-hydroquinone-α-D-glucopyranoside), an effective skin-lightening agent due to its considerable inhibitory effect on human tyrosinase activity, is widely used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Recently, α-arbutin was prepared through transglucosylation of hydroquinone using microbial glycosyltransferases as catalysts. However, the low yield and prolonged reaction time of the biotransformation process of α-arbutin production limited its industrial application. In this work, an amylosucrase (ASase) from Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris str. ATCC 33913 (XcAS) was expressed efficiently in Escherichia coli JM109. The catalytic property of the purified XcAS for the synthesis of α-arbutin was tested. The recombinant strain was applied for highly efficient synthesis of α-arbutin using sucrose and hydroquinone as glucosyl donor and acceptor, respectively. By optimizing the biotransformation conditions and applying a fed-batch strategy, the final production yield and conversion rate of α-arbutin reached 60.9 g/L and 95.5%, respectively, which is the highest reported yield by engineered strains. Compared to the highest reported value (<1.4 g/L/h), our productivity (7.6 g/L/h) was improved more than five-fold. This work represents an efficient and rapid method for α-arbutin production with potential industrial applications
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