Metabolic engineering strategies for microbial synthesis of oleochemicals
Journal article, 2015
Microbial synthesis of oleochemicals has advanced significantly in the last decade. Microbes have been engineered to convert renewable substrates to a wide range of molecules that are ordinarily made from plant oils. This approach is attractive because it can reduce a motivation for converting tropical rainforest into farmland while simultaneously enabling access to molecules that are currently expensive to produce from oil crops. In the last decade, enzymes responsible for producing oleochemicals in nature have been identified, strategies to circumvent native regulation have been developed, and high yielding strains have been designed, built, and successfully demonstrated. This review will describe the metabolic pathways that lead to the diverse molecular features found in natural oleochemicals, highlight successful metabolic engineering strategies, and comment on areas where future work could further advance the field.