Strategies and challenges with the microbial conversion of methanol to high-value chemicals
Review article, 2021

As alternatives to traditional fermentation substrates, methanol (CH3OH), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) represent promising one-carbon (C1) sources that are readily available at low-cost and share similar metabolic pathway. Of these C1 compounds, methanol is used as a carbon and energy source by native methylotrophs, and can be obtained from CO2 and CH4 by chemical catalysis. Therefore, constructing and rewiring methanol utilization pathways may enable the use of one-carbon sources for microbial fermentations. Recent bioengineering efforts have shown that both native and nonnative methylotrophic organisms can be engineered to convert methanol, together with other carbon sources, into biofuels and other commodity chemicals. However, many challenges remain and must be overcome before industrial-scale bioprocessing can be established using these engineered cell refineries. Here, we provide a comprehensive summary and comparison of methanol metabolic pathways from different methylotrophs, followed by a review of recent progress in engineering methanol metabolic pathways in vitro and in vivo to produce chemicals. We discuss the major challenges associated with establishing efficient methanol metabolic pathways in microbial cells, and propose improved designs for future engineering.

intermediate recycling

energy supply

redox cofactor

methanol

methylotrophs

Author

Chunjun Zhan

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Jiangnan University

Xiaowei Li

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability

Yankun Yang

Jiangnan University

Jens B Nielsen

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability

BioInnovation Institute

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Zhonghu Bai

Jiangnan University

Yun Chen

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Biotechnology and Bioengineering

0006-3592 (ISSN) 1097-0290 (eISSN)

Vol. In Press

Subject Categories

Renewable Bioenergy Research

Other Environmental Engineering

Energy Systems

DOI

10.1002/bit.27862

PubMed

34133022

More information

Latest update

7/5/2021 1