Programas / Biotecnología Industrial
Engineering microbial cell factories for the production of plant natural products
From design principles to industrial‑scale production
Plant natural products (PNPs) are widely used as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, seasonings, pigments, etc., witha huge commercial value on the global market. However, most of these PNPs are still being extracted from plants. A resource-conserving and environment-friendly synthesis route for PNPs that utilizes microbial cell factories hasattracted increasing attention since the 1940s. However, at the present only a handful of PNPs are being produced by microbial cell factories at an industrial scale, and there are still many challenges in their large-scale application. One of the challenges is that most biosynthetic pathways of PNPs are still unknown, which largely limits the number of candidate PNPs for heterologous microbial production. Another challenge is that the metabolic fluxes toward the target products in microbial hosts are often hindered by poor precursor supply, low catalytic activity of enzymes and obstructed product transport. Consequently, despite intensive studies on the metabolic engineering of microbial hosts, the fermentation costs of most heterologously produced PNPs are still too high for industrial-scale production.
In this paper, we review several aspects of PNP production in microbial cell factories, including important design principles and recent progress in pathway mining and metabolic engineering. In addition, implemented cases of industrial-scale production of PNPs in microbial cell factories are also highlighted.
Keywords: Plant natural products, Synthetic biology, Microbial cell factories, Metabolic engineering, Industrial.
Microbial Cell Factories
Liu et al. Microb Cell Fact (2017) 16:125