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Bio-map charts production routes for industrial chemicals

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Posted January 18, 2019
Researchers now present a very detailed map on metabolic engineering routes for the production of a wide range of sustainable chemicals. This map will ease the construction of engineered microorganisms that can produce bio-chemicals. The research is published in Nature Catalysis.

A team of scientists has now completed a metabolic map that charts all available strategies and pathways of chemical reactions that lead to the production of various industrial bio-based chemicals.

Image credit: KAIST

Image credit: KAIST

The team is led by Sang Yup Lee, Distinguished Professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Scientific Director at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability.

Sang Yup Lee has produced high-quality metabolic engineering and systems engineering research for decades and has now made the hallmark chemicals map after seven years of studies. The map has been published in a scientific review article in Nature Catalysis.

Wide range of applications

The team presented a very detailed analysis on metabolic engineering for the production of a wide range of industrial chemicals, fuels, and materials. Surveying the current trends in the bio-based production of chemicals in industrial biotechnology, the team thoroughly examined the current status of industrial chemicals produced using biological and/or chemical reactions.

“The metabolic map presents those chemicals that can be most efficiently driven from a particular metabolic node. Also, it presents combined biological and chemical strategies for the production of a particular chemical from renewable resources. Thus, having this comprehensive map will allow researchers to think of their own production strategies,” says Sang Yup Lee.

Sang Yup Lee is serving as Scientific Director for The New Bioactive Compound Section at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability.

This section is working on engineering the bacterium actinomycetes bacteria for the production of new antibiotics and other natural compounds of medical importance. Some of the strategies from the map have already been employed in the Section’s daily work, Sang Yup Lee explains.

List of companies producing bio-chemicals commercially

In order to evaluate the current state at which metabolically engineered microorganisms can produce a large portfolio of industrial chemicals, the team conducted an extensive review of the literature and mapped them out on a poster. This resulting poster, termed the “bio-based chemicals map”, presents synthetic pathways for industrial chemicals, which consist of biological and/or chemical reactions.

“We are so excited that this review and poster will expand further discussion on the production of important chemicals through engineered micro-organisms and also combined biological and chemical means in a more sustainable manner,” he explains.

Source: DTU

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