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Jang Y.-S.,KAIST | Park J.M.,KAIST | Choi S.,KAIST | Choi Y.J.,KAIST | And 4 more authors.
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2012

The increasing oil price and environmental concerns caused by the use of fossil fuel have renewed our interest in utilizing biomass as a sustainable resource for the production of biofuel. It is however essential to develop high performance microbes that are capable of producing biofuels with very high efficiency in order to compete with the fossil fuel. Recently, the strategies for developing microbial strains by systems metabolic engineering, which can be considered as metabolic engineering integrated with systems biology and synthetic biology, have been developed. Systems metabolic engineering allows successful development of microbes that are capable of producing several different biofuels including bioethanol, biobutanol, alkane, and biodiesel, and even hydrogen. In this review, the approaches employed to develop efficient biofuel producers by metabolic engineering and systems metabolic engineering approaches are reviewed with relevant example cases. It is expected that systems metabolic engineering will be employed as an essential strategy for the development of microbial strains for industrial applications. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Jang Y.-S.,KAIST | Lee J.,KAIST | Malaviya A.,KAIST | Seung D.Y.,Caltex Corporation Value Creation Center | And 3 more authors.
Biotechnology Journal | Year: 2012

Biofuel from renewable biomass is one of the answers to help solve the problems associated with limited fossil resources and climate change. Butanol has superior liquid-fuel characteristics, with similar properties to gasoline, and thus, has the potential to be used as a substitute for gasoline. Clostridia are recognized as a good butanol producers and are employed in the industrial-scale production of solvents. Due to the difficulty of performing genetic manipulations on clostridia, however, strain improvement has been rather slow. Furthermore, complex metabolic characteristics of acidogenesis followed by solventogenesis in this strain have hampered the development of engineered clostridia strains with highly efficient and selective butanol-production capabilities. In recent years, the butanol-producing characteristics in clostridia have been further characterized and alternative pathways discovered. More recently, systems-level metabolic engineering approaches were taken to develop superior strains. Herein, we review recent discoveries of metabolic pathways for butanol production and the metabolic engineering strategies being developed. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Lee J.,Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory | Lee J.,KAIST | Jang Y.-S.,Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory | Choi S.J.,Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory | And 7 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2012

Clostridium acetobutylicum naturally produces acetone as well as butanol and ethanol. Since acetone cannot be used as a biofuel, its production needs to be minimized or suppressed by cell or bioreactor engineering. Thus, there have been attempts to disrupt or inactivate the acetone formation pathway. Here we present another approach, namely, converting acetone to isopropanol by metabolic engineering. Since isopropanol can be used as a fuel additive, the mixture of isopropanol, butanol, and ethanol (IBE) produced by engineered C. acetobutylicum can be directly used as a biofuel. IBE production is achieved by the expression of a primary/secondary alcohol dehydrogenase gene from Clostridium beijerinckii NRRL B-593 (i.e., adh B-593) in C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824. To increase the total alcohol titer, a synthetic acetone operon (act operon; adc-ctfA-ctfB) was constructed and expressed to increase the flux toward isopropanol formation. When this engineering strategy was applied to the PJC4BK strain lacking in the buk gene (encoding butyrate kinase), a significantly higher titer and yield of IBE could be achieved. The resulting PJC4BK(pIPA3-Cm2) strain produced 20.4 g/liter of total alcohol. Fermentation could be prolonged by in situ removal of solvents by gas stripping, and 35.6 g/liter of the IBE mixture could be produced in 45 h. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.

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