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Synthetic Biology Approaches to Produce C3-C6 Alcohols from Microorganisms

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Biofuels synthesized from renewable resources are of increasing interest because of global energy and environmental problems. Compared to the traditional biofuel, ethanol, higher alcohols such as isobutanol and 1-butanol offer advantages such as higher energy density, lower hygroscopicity, lower vapor pressure, and compatibility with existing transportation infrastructure. Some Clostridia species are known to naturally produce isopropanol and 1-butanol. However, these fuels are not synthesized economically using native organisms. Additionally, other C3-C6 alcohols are not produced in large quantities by natural microorganisms. Synthetic biology offers an alternative approach in which synthetic pathways are engineered into user-friendly hosts for the production of these fuel molecules. These hosts could be readily manipulated to improve the production efficiency. This review summarizes recent progress in the engineering of microorganisms to produce C3-C6 alcohols.
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Keywords: 2-methyl-1-butanol; Biocatalysis; Butamax Advanced Biofuels; Clostridium beijerinckii; ISOPROPANOL; Ketoacid Based Biofuels; METHYL-1-BUTANOL; acetoacetyl-CoA; acetyl-CoA transferase; biofuel; butanol; isobutanol; metabolic engineering; synthetic biology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • Current Chemical Biology aims to publish full-length and mini reviews on exciting new developments at the chemistry-biology interface, covering topics relating to Chemical Synthesis, Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface and Chemical Mechanisms of Biological Systems.

    Current Chemical Biology covers the following areas: Chemical Synthesis (Syntheses of biologically important macromolecules including proteins, polypeptides, oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides etc.; Asymmetric synthesis; Combinatorial synthesis; Diversity-oriented synthesis; Template-directed synthesis; Biomimetic synthesis; Solid phase biomolecular synthesis; Synthesis of small biomolecules: amino acids, peptides, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleosides; and Natural product synthesis).

    Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface (Chemical informatics; Macromolecular catalysts and receptors; Enzymatic synthesis; Biosynthetic engineering; Combinatorial biosynthesis; Plant cell based chemistry; Bacterial and viral cell based chemistry; Chemistry of cellular processes in plants/animals; Receptor chemistry; Cell signaling chemistry; Drug design through understanding of disease processes; Synthetic biology; New high throughput screening techniques; Small molecular array fabrication; Chemical genomics; Chemical and biological approaches to carbohydrates proteins and nucleic acids design; Chemical and biological regulation of biosynthetic pathways; and Unnatural biomolecular analogs).
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