Butanol production from renewable biomass: Rediscovery of metabolic pathways and metabolic engineering

Authors

  • Yu-Sin Jang,

    1. Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (BK21 Program), BioProcess Engineering Research Center, Center for Systems and Synthetic Biotechnology, Institute for the BioCentury, KAIST, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Joungmin Lee,

    1. Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (BK21 Program), BioProcess Engineering Research Center, Center for Systems and Synthetic Biotechnology, Institute for the BioCentury, KAIST, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Alok Malaviya,

    1. Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (BK21 Program), BioProcess Engineering Research Center, Center for Systems and Synthetic Biotechnology, Institute for the BioCentury, KAIST, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Do Young Seung,

    1. GS Caltex Corporation Value Creation Center, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jung Hee Cho,

    1. GS Caltex Corporation Value Creation Center, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Prof. Sang Yup Lee

    Corresponding author
    1. Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (BK21 Program), BioProcess Engineering Research Center, Center for Systems and Synthetic Biotechnology, Institute for the BioCentury, KAIST, Republic of Korea
    2. Department of Bio and Brain Engineering and Bioinformatics Research Center, KAIST, Republic of Korea
    • Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305–701, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Biofuel from renewable biomass is one of the answers to help solve the problems associated with limited fossil resources and climate change. Butanol has superior liquid-fuel characteristics, with similar properties to gasoline, and thus, has the potential to be used as a substitute for gasoline. Clostridia are recognized as a good butanol producers and are employed in the industrial-scale production of solvents. Due to the difficulty of performing genetic manipulations on clostridia, however, strain improvement has been rather slow. Furthermore, complex metabolic characteristics of acidogenesis followed by solventogenesis in this strain have hampered the development of engineered clostridia strains with highly efficient and selective butanol-production capabilities. In recent years, the butanol-producing characteristics in clostridia have been further characterized and alternative pathways discovered. More recently, systems-level metabolic engineering approaches were taken to develop superior strains. Herein, we review recent discoveries of metabolic pathways for butanol production and the metabolic engineering strategies being developed.

Ancillary