Design and engineering of artificial biosynthetic pathways—where do we stand and where do we go?

Nika Sokolova, Bo Peng, Kristina Haslinger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


The production of commodity and specialty chemicals relies heavily on fossil fuels. The negative impact of this dependency on our environment and climate has spurred a rising demand for more sustainable methods to obtain such chemicals from renewable resources. Herein, biotransformations of these renewable resources facilitated by enzymes or (micro)organisms have gained significant attention, since they can occur under mild conditions and reduce waste. These biotransformations typically leverage natural metabolic processes, which limits the scope and production capacity of such processes. In this mini-review, we provide an overview of advancements made in the past 5 years to expand the repertoire of biotransformations in engineered microorganisms. This ranges from redesign of existing pathways driven by retrobiosynthesis and computational design to directed evolution of enzymes and de novo pathway design to unlock novel routes for the synthesis of desired chemicals. We highlight notable examples of pathway designs for the production of commodity and specialty chemicals, showcasing the potential of these approaches. Lastly, we provide an outlook on future pathway design approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2897-2907
Number of pages11
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2023


  • biotransformation
  • engineered microbes
  • metabolic pathways
  • sustainability


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