Caister Academic Press

Metabolic Engineering and Systems Biology for Free Fatty Acid Production in Cyanobacteria

Anne M. Ruffing
from: Cyanobacteria: Omics and Manipulation (Edited by: Dmitry A. Los). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2017) Pages: 161-186.


Free fatty acids (FFAs) are essential cellular components and also potential precursors for biofuel production. The modification of cyanobacteria for FFA production allows for the production of this high density energy molecule from CO2 and sunlight as the main carbon and energy sources. Efforts to engineer cyanobacteria for FFA production have provided a proof-of-concept demonstration for this approach, yet FFA yields are too low to support industrial-scale production for biofuel applications. This chapter highlights previous successes in engineering cyanobacterial FFA production, possible targets for future metabolic engineering efforts, and the many challenges that must be overcome. Due to the essential nature of fatty acid biosynthesis, modification of this major metabolic pathway includes interactions with many other pathways of carbon metabolism and complex regulatory mechanisms. In addition, cyanobacterial FFA production has been shown to result in cellular stress responses affecting growth, membrane integrity and composition, and photosynthesis. These complex interactions necessitate the use of systems biology approaches, such as omics and computational modeling, to understand and effectively manipulate cyanobacteria for enhanced FFA production. While there are few examples of the application of systems biology to FFA production in cyanobacteria, a review of technologies and tools developed for cyanobacteria is presented to guide future efforts in this area. The proposed integration of metabolic engineering and systems biology approaches may advance our understanding of cyanobacterial fatty acid biosynthesis and overcome current barriers in cyanobacterial FFA production read more ...
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