Recent trends in metabolic engineering of microbial chemical factories
Review article, 2019

Microbe-mediated chemical production can replace traditional fossil-dependent production and hereby ensure sustainable production of chemicals that are important for our society. Significant success in economical chemical bioproduction has been accomplished by improving the cellular properties of microbial cells through metabolic engineering. The emergence of new techniques and strategies has led to a significant reduction in the turnaround time in the classic design-build-test-learn (DBTL) cycle in metabolic engineering. Here, we summarize the recent achievements and trends in microbial production of chemicals, with a focus on biofuels and high-value natural compounds. In addition, we offer perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for the successful establishment of future microbial chemical factories.


Cell engineering

Cellular properties


Chemical factory

Microbial cells


Yi Liu

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Jens B Nielsen

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Current Opinion in Biotechnology

0958-1669 (ISSN)

Vol. 60 188-197

Subject Categories

Other Mechanical Engineering

Renewable Bioenergy Research

Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified



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