Concerns about the availability of petroleum-derived fuels and chemicals have led to the exploration of metabolically engineered organisms as novel hosts for biofuels and chemicals production. However, the complexity inherent in metabolic and regulatory networks makes this undertaking a complex task. To address these limitations, metabolic engineering has adapted a wide-variety of tools for altering phenotypes. In this review, we will highlight traditional and recent metabolic engineering tools for optimizing cells including pathway-based, global, and genomics enabled approaches. Specifically, we describe these tools as well as provide demonstrations of their effectiveness in optimizing biofuels production. However, each of these tools provides stepping stones towards the grand goal of biofuels production. Thus, developing methods for largescale cellular optimization and integrative approaches are invaluable for further cell optimization. This review highlights the challenges that still must be met to accomplish this goal.
Copyright © 2011 De Gruyter