Engineering metabolic systems for production of advanced fuels.
The depleting petroleum storage and increasing environmental deterioration are threatening the sustainable development of human societies. As such, biofuels and chemical feedstocks generated from renewable sources are becoming increasingly important. Although previous efforts led to great success in bio-ethanol production, higher alcohols, fatty acid derivatives including biodiesels, alkanes, and alkenes offer additional advantages because of their compatibility with existing infrastructure. In addition, some of these compounds are useful chemical feedstocks. Since native organisms do not naturally produce these compounds in high quantities, metabolic engineering becomes essential in constructing producing organisms. In this article, we briefly review the four major metabolic systems, the coenzyme-A mediated pathways, the keto acid pathways, the fatty acid pathway, and the isoprenoid pathways, that allow production of these fuel-grade chemicals.