Engineering of Microbial Cell Factories for the Production of Plant Polyphenols with Health-Beneficial Properties

Alexey Dudnik, Paula Gaspar, Ana Rute Neves, Jochen Forster

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Polyphenols form a group of important natural bioactive compounds with numerous ascribed health-beneficial attributes (e.g. antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and tumor-suppressing properties). Some polyphenols can also be used as natural dyes or plastic precursors. Notwithstanding their relevance, production of most of these compounds still relies on extraction from plant material, which for most of it is a costly and an inefficient procedure. The use of microbial cell factories for this purpose is an emerging alternative that could allow a more efficient and sustainable production. The most recent advances in molecular biology and genetic engineering, combined with the ever-growing understanding of microbial physiology have led to multiple success stories. Production of multiple polyphenolic compounds or their direct precursors has been achieved not only in the common production hosts, such as Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae but also in Corynebacterium glutamicum and Lactococcus lactis. However, boosting production of native compounds or introduction of heterologous biosynthetic pathways also brings certain challenges, such as the need to express, balance and maintain efficient precursor supply. This review will discuss the most recent advances in the field of metabolic engineering of microorganisms for polyphenol biosynthesis and its future perspectives, as well as outlines their potential health benefits and current production methods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number19
Pages (from-to)2208-2225
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Escherichia coli
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
  • Fisetin
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Microbial cell factories
  • Polyphenols
  • Quercetin
  • Resveratrol


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