Microorganisms transform inexpensive carbon sources into highly functionalized compounds without toxic by-product generation or significant energy consumption. By redesigning the natural biosynthetic pathways in an industrially suited host, microbial cell factories can produce complex compounds for a variety of industries. Isoprenoids include many medically important compounds such as antioxidants and anticancer and antimalarial drugs, all of which have been produced microbially. While a biosynthetic pathway could be simply transferred to the production host, the titers would become economically feasible when it is rationally designed, built, and optimized through synthetic biology tools. These tools have been implemented by a number of research groups, with new tools pledging further improvements in yields and expansion to new medically relevant compounds. This review focuses on the microbial production of isoprenoids for the health industry and the advancements though synthetic biology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 2013


  • Health industry
  • Isoprenoids
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Microbial biosynthesis
  • Synthetic biology


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