The anticipated shift of biofuel feedstocks from maize to lignocellulose presents challenges in developing effective biomass pretreatment approaches, which impacts the selection and capabilities of fuel-producing organisms. For a viable biofuel production process, the ideal fuel-producing organism must be able to efficiently convert a variety of sugars to fuels anaerobically at near-theoretical yields, resist inhibitors generated by biomass pretreatment and exhibit low product toxicity.
Escherichia coli finds extensive use as a model system, but has not been widely used as an industrial host. This review highlights recent advances in metabolic engineering of biofuel-synthesis pathways in E. coli and summarizes insights gained into regulation of those pathways, and describes progress toward overcoming the challenges facing its adoption as a biofuel-production strain.
Tags: Escherichia coli, biofuels, anaerobic, secretion, phage, lignocellulose
Source: Trends in Biotechnology, 2012-08-23.