Engineering microbial fatty acid metabolism for biofuels and biochemicals
Traditional oleochemical industry chemically processes animal fats and plant oils to produce detergents, lubricants, biodiesel, plastics, coatings, and other products. Biotechnology offers an alternative process, where the same oleochemicals can be produced from abundant biomass feedstocks using microbial catalysis. This review summarizes the recent advances in the engineering of microbial metabolism for production of fatty acid-derived products. We highlight the efforts in engineering the central carbon metabolism, redox metabolism, controlling the chain length of the products, and obtaining metabolites with different functionalities. The prospects of commercializing microbial oleochemicals are also discussed.