Trash to treasure: Production of biofuels and commodity chemicals via syngas fermenting microorganisms

Haythem Latif, Ahmad Zeidan, Alex Toftgaard Nielsen, Karsten Zengler

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Fermentation of syngas is a means through which unutilized organic waste streams can be converted biologically into biofuels and commodity chemicals. Despite recent advances, several issues remain which limit implementation of industrial-scale syngas fermentation processes. At the cellular level, the energy conservation mechanism of syngas fermenting microorganisms has not yet been entirely elucidated. Furthermore, there was a lack of genetic tools to study and ultimately enhance their metabolic capabilities. Recently, substantial progress has been made in understanding the intricate energy conservation mechanisms of these microorganisms. Given the complex relationship between energy conservation and metabolism, strain design greatly benefits from systems-level approaches. Numerous genetic manipulation tools have also been developed, paving the way for the use of metabolic engineering and systems biology approaches. Rational strain designs can now be deployed resulting in desirable phenotypic traits for large-scale production. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Pages (from-to)79-87
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Biofuels
  • Energy conservation
  • Fermentation
  • Metabolism
  • Microorganisms
  • Synthesis gas


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