Light-energy conversion in engineered microorganisms

Ethan T. Johnson, Claudia Schmidt-Dannert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Increasing interest in renewable resources by the energy and chemical industries has spurred new technologies both to capture solar energy and to develop biologically derived chemical feedstocks and fuels. Advances in molecular biology and metabolic engineering have provided new insights and techniques for increasing biomass and biohydrogen production, and recent efforts in synthetic biology have demonstrated that complex regulatory and metabolic networks can be designed and engineered in microorganisms. Here, we explore how light-driven processes may be incorporated into nonphotosynthetic microbes to boost metabolic capacity for the production of industrial and fine chemicals. Progress towards the introduction of light-driven proton pumping or anoxygenic photosynthesis into Escherichia coli to increase the efficiency of metabolically-engineered biosynthetic pathways is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-689
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in biotechnology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge support by David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Institute on the Environment of the University of Minnesota and the National Science Foundation (grant # CBET-0756296).

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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