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Summary

Due to our increasing concerns on environmental problems and limited fossil resources, biobased production of chemicals and materials through biorefinery has been attracting much attention. Optimization of the metabolic performance of microorganisms, the key biocatalysts for the efficient production of the desired target bioproducts, has been achieved by metabolic engineering. Metabolic engineering allowed more efficient production of polyhydroxyalkanoates, a family of microbial polyesters. More recently, non-natural polyesters containing lactate as a monomer have also been produced by one-step fermentation of engineered bacteria. Systems metabolic engineering integrating traditional metabolic engineering with systems biology, synthetic biology, protein/enzyme engineering through directed evolution and structural design, and evolutionary engineering, enabled microorganisms to efficiently produce natural and non-natural products. Here, we review the strategies for the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for the in vivo biosynthesis of lactate-containing polyesters and for the optimization of whole cell metabolism to efficiently produce lactate-containing polyesters. Also, major problems to be solved to further enhance the production of lactate-containing polyesters are discussed.