Microbial n-butanol production from Clostridia to non-Clostridial hosts

Authors

  • Paola Branduardi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy
    • Correspondence: Dr. Paola Branduardi (paola.branduardi@unimib.it), Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza, 2–20126 Milano, Italy

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  • Francesca de Ferra,

    1. Research Center for Non-Conventional Energy—Istituto Eni Donegani, Environmental Technologies, San Donato Milanese (MI), Italy
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  • Valeria Longo,

    1. Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy
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  • Danilo Porro

    1. Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy
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Abstract

In the context of the global objective of shifting from petroleum to a biomass-based economy, the research on fermentative strategies to produce alternative biofuels and chemicals has become a predominant field of study. Microorganisms, because of their substrate versatility and metabolic efficiency, are promising to partially support our increasing needs for materials and fuels, opening up scenarios for the use of alternative sources, including wastes. Butanol is a very attractive molecule since it can be seen both as a chemical platform and as a fuel. Today, it is principally derived from petroleum, but it also represents the final product of a microbial fermentation. Although Clostridia are the natural and traditional organisms employed in butanol production, systematic approaches to improve production and resistance traits are currently impeded by a lack of characterization and genetic tools. This is the main reason why, besides their optimizations, a significant and growing amount of research is centered on the engineering of alternative robust cell factories capable of elevated production, possibly combined with higher tolerance. Here, we review the most recent advances in n-butanol production in non-Clostridial microbial hosts, including not only other prokaryotic but also eukaryotic microorganisms, which might eventually be seen as second-generation hosts.

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