From flavors and pharmaceuticals to advanced biofuels: Production of isoprenoids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Journal article, 2013
Isoprenoids denote the largest group of chemicals in the plant kingdom and are employed for a wide range of applications in the food and pharmaceutical industry. In recent years, isoprenoids have additionally been recognized as suitable replacements for petroleum-derived fuels and could thus promote the transition towards a more sustainable society. To realize the biofuel potential of isoprenoids, a very efficient production system is required. While complex chemical structures as well as the low abundance in nature demonstrate the shortcomings of chemical synthesis and plant extraction, isoprenoids can be produced by genetically engineered microorganisms from renewable carbon sources. In this article, we summarize the development of isoprenoid applications from flavors and pharmaceuticals to advanced biofuels and review the strategies to design microbial cell factories, focusing on Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of these compounds. While the high complexity of biosynthetic pathways and the toxicity of certain isoprenoids still denote challenges that need to be addressed, metabolic engineering has enabled large-scale production of several terpenoids and thus, the utilization of these compounds is likely to expand in the future.
Microbial cell factories