Enhancing microbial production of biofuels by expanding microbial metabolic pathways

Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry
Ping YuPeng Li


Fatty acid, isoprenoid, and alcohol pathways have been successfully engineered to produce biofuels. By introducing three genes, atfA, adhE, and pdc, into Escherichia coli to expand fatty acid pathway, up to 1.28 g/L of fatty acid ethyl esters can be achieved. The isoprenoid pathway can be expanded to produce bisabolene with a high titer of 900 mg/L in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Short- and long-chain alcohols can also be effectively biosynthesized by extending the carbon chain of ketoacids with an engineered "+1" alcohol pathway. Thus, it can be concluded that expanding microbial metabolic pathways has enormous potential for enhancing microbial production of biofuels for future industrial applications. However, some major challenges for microbial production of biofuels should be overcome to compete with traditional fossil fuels: lowering production costs, reducing the time required to construct genetic elements and to increase their predictability and reliability, and creating reusable parts with useful and predictable behavior. To address these challenges, several aspects should be further considered in future: mining and transformation of genetic elements related to metabolic pathways, assembling biofuel elements and coordinati...Continue Reading


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