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Advances in the development and application of microbial consortia for metabolic engineering

Jawed, Kamran, Yazdani, Syed Shams, Koffas, Mattheos AG.
Metabolic Engineering Communications 2019 pp. e00095
biochemical pathways, biosynthesis, biotransformation, coculture, hosts, metabolic engineering
Recent advances in metabolic engineering enable the production of high-value chemicals via expressing complex biosynthetic pathways in a single microbial host. However, many engineered strains suffer from poor product yields due to redox imbalance and excess metabolic burden, and require compartmentalization of the pathway for optimal function. To address this problem, significant developments have been made towards co-cultivation of more than one engineered microbial strains to distribute metabolic burden between the co-cultivation partners and improve the product yield. In this emerging approach, metabolic pathway modules can be optimized separately in suitable hosts that will then be combined to enable optimal functionality of the complete pathway. This modular approach broadens the possibilities to fine tune sophisticated production platforms and thus achieve the biosynthesis of very complex compounds.Here, we review the different applications and the overall potential of natural and artificial co-cultivation systems in metabolic engineering in order to improve bioproduction/bioconversion. In addition to the several advantages over monocultures, major challenges and opportunities associated with co-cultivation are also discussed in this review.