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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011 Jul;91(1):17-30. doi: 10.1007/s00253-011-3252-0. Epub 2011 May 7.

Biotechnological production of polyamines by bacteria: recent achievements and future perspectives.

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Genetics of Prokaryotes, Department of Biology & CeBiTec, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.


In Bacteria, the pathways of polyamine biosynthesis start with the amino acids L-lysine, L-ornithine, L-arginine, or L-aspartic acid. Some of these polyamines are of special interest due to their use in the production of engineering plastics (e.g., polyamides) or as curing agents in polymer applications. At present, the polyamines for industrial use are mainly synthesized on chemical routes. However, since a commercial market for polyamines as well as an industry for the fermentative production of amino acid exist, and since bacterial strains overproducing the polyamine precursors L-lysine, L-ornithine, and L-arginine are known, it was envisioned to engineer these amino acid-producing strains for polyamine production. Only recently, researchers have investigated the potential of amino acid-producing strains of Corynebacterium glutamicum and Escherichia coli for polyamine production. This mini-review illustrates the current knowledge of polyamine metabolism in Bacteria, including anabolism, catabolism, uptake, and excretion. The recent advances in engineering the industrial model bacteria C. glutamicum and E. coli for efficient production of the most promising polyamines, putrescine (1,4-diaminobutane), and cadaverine (1,5-diaminopentane), are discussed in more detail.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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