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Microbial isoprenoid production: an example of green chemistry through metabolic engineering.

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Center for Microbial Biotechnology, BioCentrum-DTU, Building 223, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.


Saving energy, cost efficiency, producing less waste, improving the biodegradability of products, potential for producing novel and complex molecules with improved properties, and reducing the dependency on fossil fuels as raw materials are the main advantages of using biotechnological processes to produce chemicals. Such processes are often referred to as green chemistry or white biotechnology. Metabolic engineering, which permits the rational design of cell factories using directed genetic modifications, is an indispensable strategy for expanding green chemistry. In this chapter, the benefits of using metabolic engineering approaches for the development of green chemistry are illustrated by the recent advances in microbial production of isoprenoids, a diverse and important group of natural compounds with numerous existing and potential commercial applications. Accumulated knowledge on the metabolic pathways leading to the synthesis of the principal precursors of isoprenoids is reviewed, and recent investigations into isoprenoid production using engineered cell factories are described.

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