Disclosed herein are methods for producing compounds (such as 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate, catechol, cis,cis-muconate, or .beta.-carboxy-cis,cis-muconic acid) utilizing biosynthetic pathways in prokaryotic organisms expressing one or more heterologous genes. In some embodiments, the method includes expressing a heterologous asbF gene (for example, a gene having dehydroshikimate dehydratase activity) in a prokaryotic cell under conditions sufficient to produce the one or more compounds and purifying the compound. In additional embodiments, the method further includes expressing one or more of a heterologous 3,4-DHB decarboxylase gene, a heterologous catechol 1,2-dioxygenase gene, and a heterologous 3,4-DHB dioxygenase gene in the prokaryotic cell and purifying the compound.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.