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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2008 Oct;19(5):420-9. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Engineering solventogenic clostridia.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 15 Innovation Way, Newark, DE 19711, USA.


Solventogenic clostridia are strictly anaerobic, endospore forming bacteria that produce a large array of primary metabolites, like butanol, by anaerobically degrading simple and complex carbohydrates, including cellulose and hemicellulose. Two genomes have been sequenced and some genetic tools have been developed, but more are now urgently needed. Genomic tools for designing, and assessing the impact of, genetic modifications are well developed. Early efforts to metabolically engineer these organisms suggest that they are promising organisms for biorefinery applications. Pathway engineering efforts have resulted in interesting strains, but global engineering of their transcriptional machinery has produced better outcomes. Future efforts are expected to undertake the development of complex multigenic phenotypes, such as aerotolerance, solvent tolerance, high-cell density fermentations, abolished sporulation without impacting product formation, and genetic stability for continuous bioprocessing.

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