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Phytomining of plant enzymes for biotechnological use of fats and oils

Jach, Guido, Soezer, Nursen, Schullehner, Katrin, Lalla, Bernhard, Welters, Peter, Mueller, Andreas
European journal of lipid science and technology 2010 v.112 no.1 pp. 75-86
biochemical pathways, biodiversity, biotechnology, cellulose, chemical industry, energy, enzymes, feedstocks, fermentation, genes, lubricants, nutrition, plant fats and oils, plants, plasticizers, polymers, raw materials, renewable resources, starch, unsaturated fatty acids
Human history is closely linked to the use of plants as valuable sources for nutrition, commodities and energy as well as a multitude of raw materials, such as fats, oils and natural polymers like cellulose or starch. However, only recently, plants have become a cornerstone of sustainable industry by exploiting lead structures and biosynthetic pathways for the modification of renewable resources. The chemical industry already uses plant oils as renewable feedstock. Unsaturated fatty acids are well-suited raw materials for the production of polymers, plasticizers and lubricants. Doubtlessly, the wealth of plant biosynthetic pathways makes them an attractive source of fascinating new enzymes for fat and oil modification and new biotechnological applications. The use of plant enzymes and compounds in industrial biotechnology offers new means to address energy savings and increases in efficiency and sustainability. Discovery and evaluation of suitable enzymes can be done via phytomining, an iterative approach unlocking the huge potential of plant biodiversity while aiming to increase the efficiency of current production processes, e.g. by complementing microbial production lines with a suitable gene, or implementing completely new and innovative fermentation processes. This article reflects potential biotechnological and industrial uses of (plant) oils and enzymes as well as the use of the phytomining platform to gain required enzymatic functions from plants.