Progress and perspectives on improving butanol tolerance
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Fermentative production of butanol for use as a biofuel or chemical feedstock is regarded as a promising renewable technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has the potential to become a substitute for non-sustainable chemical production route. However, butanol toxicity to the producing microbes remains a barrier to achieving sufficiently high titers for cost-effective butanol fermentation and recovery. Investigations of the external stress of high butanol concentration on butanol-producing microbial strains will aid in developing improved microbes with increased tolerance to butanol. With currently available molecular tool boxes, researchers have aimed to address and understand how butanol affects different microbes. This review will cover the individual organism’s inherent responses to surrounding butanol levels, and the collective efforts by researchers to improve production and tolerance. The specific microorganisms discussed here include the native butanol producer Clostridium species, the fermentation industrial model Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the photosynthetic cyanobacteria, the genetic engineering workhorse Escherichia coli, and also the butanol-tolerant lactic acid bacteria that utilize diverse substrates. The discussion will help to understand the physiology of butanol resistance and to identify specific butanol tolerance genes that will lead to informed genetic engineering strategies for new strain development.
KeywordsButanol Tolerance Fermentation Strain development
We thank Tabitha Morton and Eric Hoecker for their excellent technical assistance.
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