Description: Biodiesel is defined as fatty acid mono-alkylesters and is produced from triacylglycerols. In the current article we provide an overview of the structure, diversity and regulation of the metabolic pathways leading to intracellular fatty acid and triacylglycerol accumulation in three types of organisms (bacteria, algae and fungi) of potential biotechnological interest and discuss possible intervention points to increase the cellular lipid content. The key steps that regulate carbon allocation and distribution in lipids include the formation of malonyl-CoA, the synthesis of fatty acids and their attachment onto the glycerol backbone, and the formation of triacylglycerols. The lipid biosynthetic genes and pathways are largely known for select model organisms. Comparative genomics allows the examination of these pathways in organisms of biotechnological interest and reveals the evolution of divergent and yet uncharacterized regulatory mechanisms. Utilization of microbial systems for triacylglycerol and fatty acid production is in its infancy; however, genomic information and technologies combined with synthetic biology concepts provide the opportunity to further exploit microbes for the competitive production of biodiesel.
Date: March 20, 2008
Creator: Lykidis, Athanasios; Lykidis, Athanasios & Ivanova, Natalia
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