Consolidated Bioprocessing: Synthetic Biology Routes to Fuels and Fine Chemicals

Alec Banner, Helen S. Toogood, Nigel S. Scrutton

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The long road from emerging biotechnologies to commercial “green” biosynthetic routes for chemical production relies in part on efficient microbial use of sustainable and renewable waste biomass feedstocks. One solution is to apply the consolidated bioprocessing approach, whereby microorganisms convert lignocellulose waste into advanced fuels and other chemicals. As lignocellu-lose is a highly complex network of polymers, enzymatic degradation or “saccharification” requires a range of cellulolytic enzymes acting synergistically to release the abundant sugars contained within. Complications arise from the need for extracellular localisation of cellulolytic enzymes, whether they be free or cell-associated. This review highlights the current progress in the consolidated bio-processing approach, whereby microbial chassis are engineered to grow on lignocellulose as sole carbon sources whilst generating commercially useful chemicals. Future perspectives in the emerging biofoundry approach with bacterial hosts are discussed, where solutions to existing bottlenecks could potentially be overcome though the application of high throughput and iterative Design-Build-Test-Learn methodologies. These rapid automated pathway building infrastructures could be adapted for addressing the challenges of increasing cellulolytic capabilities of microorganisms to commercially viable levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1079
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021


  • Biofoundry
  • Cellulases
  • Consolidated bioprocessing
  • Lignocellulose degradation
  • Synthetic biology

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute of Biotechnology


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