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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2011 Dec;22(6):758-67. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2011.02.011. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Microbial production of building block chemicals and polymers.

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Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (BK21 program), Center for Systems and Synthetic Biotechnology, Institute for the BioCentury, KAIST, 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea.


Owing to our increasing concerns on the environment, climate change, and limited natural resources, there has recently been considerable effort exerted to produce chemicals and materials from renewable biomass. Polymers we use everyday can also be produced either by direct fermentation or by polymerization of monomers that are produced by fermentation. Recent advances in metabolic engineering combined with systems biology and synthetic biology are allowing us to more systematically develop superior strains and bioprocesses for the efficient production of polymers and monomers. Here, we review recent trends in microbial production of building block chemicals that can be subsequently used for the synthesis of polymers. Also, recent successful cases of direct one-step production of polymers are reviewed. General strategies for the production of natural and unnatural platform chemicals are described together with representative examples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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