Cyanobacteria as cell factories for the photosynthetic production of sucrose

Front Microbiol. 2023 Feb 14;14:1126032. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1126032. eCollection 2023.


Biofuels and other biologically manufactured sustainable goods are growing in popularity and demand. Carbohydrate feedstocks required for industrial fermentation processes have traditionally been supplied by plant biomass, but the large quantities required to produce replacement commodity products may prevent the long-term feasibility of this approach without alternative strategies to produce sugar feedstocks. Cyanobacteria are under consideration as potential candidates for sustainable production of carbohydrate feedstocks, with potentially lower land and water requirements relative to plants. Several cyanobacterial strains have been genetically engineered to export significant quantities of sugars, especially sucrose. Sucrose is not only naturally synthesized and accumulated by cyanobacteria as a compatible solute to tolerate high salt environments, but also an easily fermentable disaccharide used by many heterotrophic bacteria as a carbon source. In this review, we provide a comprehensive summary of the current knowledge of the endogenous cyanobacterial sucrose synthesis and degradation pathways. We also summarize genetic modifications that have been found to increase sucrose production and secretion. Finally, we consider the current state of synthetic microbial consortia that rely on sugar-secreting cyanobacterial strains, which are co-cultivated alongside heterotrophic microbes able to directly convert the sugars into higher-value compounds (e.g., polyhydroxybutyrates, 3-hydroxypropionic acid, or dyes) in a single-pot reaction. We summarize recent advances reported in such cyanobacteria/heterotroph co-cultivation strategies and provide a perspective on future developments that are likely required to realize their bioindustrial potential.

PMID:36865782 | PMC:PMC9971976 | DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2023.1126032


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