Synthetic Biology for Specialty Chemicals

by Markham, KA; Alper, HS

Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2015, [Epub ahead of print]

In this review, we address recent advances in the field of synthetic biology and describe how those tools have been applied to produce a wide variety of chemicals in microorganisms. Here we classify the expansion of the synthetic biology toolbox into three different categories based on their primary function in strain engineering-for design, for construction, and for optimization. Next, focusing on recent years, we look at how chemicals have been produced using these new synthetic biology tools. Advances in producing fuels are briefly described, followed by a more thorough treatment of commodity chemicals, specialty chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals. Throughout this review, an emphasis is placed on how synthetic biology tools are applied to strain engineering. Finally, we discuss organism and host strain diversity and provide a future outlook in the field. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Volume 6 is July 16, 2015. Please see for revised estimates.

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