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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Apr;86(4):1003-15. doi: 10.1007/s00253-010-2494-6. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

Perspectives of engineering lactic acid bacteria for biotechnological polyol production.

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Laboratorio de Bacterias Lácticas y Probióticos, IATA-CSIC, Burjassot, Valencia, Spain.


Polyols are sugar alcohols largely used as sweeteners and they are claimed to have several health-promoting effects (low-caloric, low-glycemic, low-insulinemic, anticariogenic, and prebiotic). While at present chemical synthesis is the only strategy able to assure the polyol market demand, the biotechnological production of polyols has been implemented in yeasts, fungi, and bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are a group of microorganisms particularly suited for polyol production as they display a fermentative metabolism associated with an important redox modulation and a limited biosynthetic capacity. In addition, LAB participate in food fermentation processes, where in situ production of polyols during fermentation may be useful in the development of novel functional foods. Here, we review the polyol production by LAB, focusing on metabolic engineering strategies aimed to redirect sugar fermentation pathways towards the synthesis of biotechnologically important sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol. Furthermore, possible approaches are presented for engineering new fermentation routes in LAB for production of arabitol, ribitol, and erythritol.

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