Metabolic engineering of microorganisms for the production of structurally diverse esters.
| ID: mdl-28275821
Conventional petroleum-based chemical industry, although economically still thriving, is now facing great socio-political challenges due to the increasing concerns on climate change and limited availability of fossil resources. In this context, microbial production of fuels and commodity oleochemicals from renewable biomass is being considered a promising sustainable alternative. The increasing understanding of cellular systems has enabled the redesign of microbial metabolism for the production of compounds present in many daily consumer products such as esters, waxes, fatty acids (FA) and fatty alcohols. Small aliphatic esters are important flavour and fragrance elements while long-chain esters, composed of FA esterified to fatty alcohols, are widely used in lubricant formulas, paints, coatings and cosmetics. Here, we review recent advances in the biosynthesis of these types of mono alkyl esters in vivo. We focus on the critical ester bond-forming enzymes and the latest metabolic engineering strategies employed for the biosynthesis of a wide range of products ranging from low-molecular-weight esters to waxy compounds.