A Pseudomonas putida S12 strain was constructed that efficiently produced thefine chemical cinnamic acid from glucose or glycerol via the central metabolite phenylalanine. The gene encoding phenylalanine ammonia lyase from the yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides was introduced. Phenylalanine availability was the main bottleneck in cinnamic acid production, which could not be overcome by the overexpressing enzymes of the phenylalanine biosynthesis pathway. A successful approach in abolishing this limitation was the generation of a bank of random mutants and selection on the toxic phenylalanine anti-metabolite m-fluoro-phenylalanine. Following high-throughput screening, a mutant strain was obtained that, under optimised culture conditions, accumulated over 5 mM of cinnamic acid with a yield (Cmol%) of 6.7%. © Springer-Verlag 2005.