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2023 | Buch

Cyanobacteria in Biotechnology

Applications and Quantitative Perspectives


Über dieses Buch

This book provides a comprehensive and authoritative review of cyanobacteria and their applications as solar cell factories. Cyanobacteria are able to perform oxygenic photosynthesis and they are utilized in many different bioprocesses. The book covers two major aspects of a cyano-based bioprocess: the biological whole-cell catalyst and the technical environment in which the catalyst is applied. In the biocatalyst itself electron and carbon flow play an essential role for the performance of the cell and need to be tackled likewise for successful biocatalyst development. In the first chapters of this volume, cyanobacterial biotechnology and the fundamentals of cyanobacterial bioenergetics are introduced followed by an overview on tools and strategies for cyanobacteria engineering. Further on, examples of applications, engineering and production of different industrially relevant compounds in these organisms are provided, and finally process technology specific for cyanobacteria is covered.

In this book, particular attention is given to topics such as cyanobacterial bioenergetics, metabolic engineering design strategies, utilizing cyanobacteria in biophotovoltaics, and production of pigments as well as photobiohydrogen in cyanobacteria, among others.

This book will provide interested students and researchers in the area of photo-biotechnology with a deeper understanding of the cyanobacterial cell-factory, including the latest innovations and persistent challenges in the field.


Introduction to Cyanobacteria
Cyanobacteria are highly interesting microbes with the capacity for oxygenic photosynthesis. They fulfill an important purpose in nature but are also potent biocatalysts. This chapter gives a brief overview of this diverse phylum and shortly addresses the functions these organisms have in the natural ecosystems. Further, it introduces the main topics covered in this volume, which is dealing with the development and application of cyanobacteria as solar cell factories for the production of chemicals including potential fuels. We discuss cyanobacteria as industrial workhorses, present established chassis strains, and give an overview of the current target products. Genetic engineering strategies aiming at the photosynthetic efficiency as well as approaches to optimize carbon fluxes are summarized. Finally, main cultivation strategies are sketched.
Graphical Abstract
Pia Lindberg, Amelie Kenkel, Katja Bühler
Cyanobacterial Bioenergetics in Relation to Cellular Growth and Productivity
Cyanobacteria, the evolutionary originators of oxygenic photosynthesis, have the capability to convert CO2, water, and minerals into biomass using solar energy. This process is driven by intricate bioenergetic mechanisms that consist of interconnected photosynthetic and respiratory electron transport chains coupled. Over the last few decades, advances in physiochemical analysis, molecular genetics, and structural analysis have enabled us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of cyanobacterial bioenergetics. This includes the molecular understanding of the primary energy conversion mechanisms as well as photoprotective and other dissipative mechanisms that prevent photodamage when the rates of photosynthetic output, primarily in the form of ATP and NADPH, exceed the rates that cellular assimilatory processes consume these photosynthetic outputs. Despite this progress, there is still much to learn about the systems integration and the regulatory circuits that control expression levels for optimal cellular abundance and activity of the photosynthetic complexes and the cellular components that convert their products into biomass. With an improved understanding of these regulatory principles and mechanisms, it should be possible to optimally modify cyanobacteria for enhanced biotechnological purposes.
Robert L. Burnap
The Molecular Toolset and Techniques Required to Build Cyanobacterial Cell Factories
Cyanobacteria are the only prokaryotes performing oxygenic photosynthesis, a solar-driven process which allows them to obtain electrons from water to reduce and finally assimilate carbon dioxide. Consequently, they are in the spotlight of biotechnology as photoautotrophic cell factories to generate a large variety of chemicals and biofuels in a sustainable way. Recent progress in synthetic biology has enlarged the molecular toolset to genetically engineer the metabolism of cyanobacteria, mainly targeting common model strains, such as Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, or Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. Nevertheless, the accessibility and flexibility of engineering cyanobacteria is still somewhat limited and less predictable compared to other biotechnologically employed microorganisms.
This chapter gives a broad overview of currently available methods for the genetic modification of cyanobacterial model strains as well as more recently discovered and promising species, such as Synechococcus elongatus PCC 11801. It comprises approaches based on homologous recombination, replicative broad-host-range or strain-specific plasmids, CRISPR/Cas, as well as markerless selection. Furthermore, common and newly introduced molecular tools for gene expression regulation are presented, comprising promoters, regulatory RNAs, genetic insulators like transcription terminators, ribosome binding sites, CRISPR interference, and the utilization of heterologous RNA polymerases. Additionally, potential DNA assembly strategies, like modular cloning, are described. Finally, considerations about post-translational control via protein degradation tags and heterologous proteases, as well as small proteins working as enzyme effectors are briefly discussed.
Graphical Abstract
Franz Opel, Ilka M. Axmann, Stephan Klähn
Metabolic Engineering Design Strategies for Increasing Carbon Fluxes Relevant for Biosynthesis in Cyanobacteria
Cyanobacteria are promising microbial cell factories for the direct production of biochemicals and biofuels from CO2. Through genetic and metabolic engineering, they can be modified to produce a variety of both natural and non-natural compounds. To enhance the yield of these products, various design strategies have been developed. In this chapter, strategies used to enhance metabolic fluxes towards common precursors used in biosynthesis, including pyruvate, acetyl-CoA, malonyl-CoA, TCA cycle intermediates, and aromatics, are discussed. Additionally, strategies related to cofactor availability and mixotrophic conditions for bioproduction are also summarize.
Graphical Abstract
Arvin Y. Chen, Jason T. Ku, Teresa P. Tsai, Jenny J. Hung, Billy C. Hung, Ethan I. Lan
Production of Fatty Acids and Derivatives Using Cyanobacteria
Fatty acids and their derivatives are highly valuable chemicals that can be produced through chemical or enzymatic processes using plant lipids. This may compete with human food sources. Therefore, there has been an urge to create a new method for synthesizing these chemicals. One approach is to use microbial cells, specifically cyanobacteria, as a factory platform. Engineering may need to be implemented in order to allow a cost-competitive production and to enable a production of a variety of different fatty acids and derivatives. In this chapter, we explain in details the importance of fatty acids and their derivatives, including fatty aldehydes, fatty alcohols, hydrocarbons, fatty acid methyl esters, and hydroxy fatty acids. The production of these chemicals using cyanobacterial native metabolisms together with strategies to engineer them are also explained. Moreover, recent examples of fatty acid and fatty acid derivative production from engineered cyanobacteria are gathered and reported. Commercial opportunities to manufacture fatty acids and derivatives are also discussed in this chapter. Altogether, it is clear that fatty acids and their derivatives are important chemicals, and with recent advancements in genetic engineering, a cyanobacterial platform for bio-based production is feasible. However, there are regulations and guidelines in place for the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and some further developments are still needed before commercialization can be reached.
Graphical Abstract
Pachara Sattayawat, Ian S. Yunus, Patrik R. Jones
Sustainable Production of Pigments from Cyanobacteria
Pigments are intensely coloured compounds used in many industries to colour other materials. The demand for naturally synthesised pigments is increasing and their production can be incorporated into circular bioeconomy approaches. Natural pigments are produced by bacteria, cyanobacteria, microalgae, macroalgae, plants and animals. There is a huge unexplored biodiversity of prokaryotic cyanobacteria which are microscopic phototrophic microorganisms that have the ability to capture solar energy and CO2 and use it to synthesise a diverse range of sugars, lipids, amino acids and biochemicals including pigments. This makes them attractive for the sustainable production of a wide range of high-value products including industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and animal-feed supplements. The advantages of cyanobacteria production platforms include comparatively high growth rates, their ability to use freshwater, seawater or brackish water and the ability to cultivate them on non-arable land. The pigments derived from cyanobacteria and microalgae include chlorophylls, carotenoids and phycobiliproteins that have useful properties for advanced technical and commercial products. Development and optimisation of strain-specific pigment-based cultivation strategies support the development of economically feasible pigment biorefinery scenarios with enhanced pigment yields, quality and price. Thus, this chapter discusses the origin, properties, strain selection, production techniques and market opportunities of cyanobacterial pigments.
Graphical Abstract
Charu Deepika, Juliane Wolf, John Roles, Ian Ross, Ben Hankamer
Photobiohydrogen Production and Strategies for H2 Yield Improvements in Cyanobacteria
H2, an environmentally friendly energy source, can be generated using a fermentative biological method. Cyanobacteria, with their photosynthetic ability, utilize water as an electron source for H2 production catalyzed by a bidirectional hydrogenase and/or a nitrogenase. Unfortunately, these enzymes are irreversibly inactivated when exposed to atmospheric molecular oxygen, so optimization of production is needed. Various physicochemical parameters, such as carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sulfur (S) sources, impact H2 yield, ranging from 0.12 ± 0.01 to 31.79 ± 0.54 μmolH2/mg chl a/h. Genetic modification in many cyanobacterial strains resulted in an increased H2 yield, ranging from 2.8–101.33 μmol H2/mg chl a/h. Cell immobilization, primarily in agar and alginate, is another approach to increase H2 yield during biological production over several production cycles by reducing gas diffusion and cell stacking effects. Although commercialized biological hydrogen has undergone many challenges, numerous scientific methods are still required to be developed to turn these efforts into reality.
Graphical Abstract
Wanthanee Khetkorn, Wuttinun Raksajit, Cherdsak Maneeruttanarungroj, Peter Lindblad
Utilizing Cyanobacteria in Biophotovoltaics: An Emerging Field in Bioelectrochemistry
Anthropogenic global warming is driven by the increasing energy demand and the still dominant use of fossil energy carriers to meet these needs. New carbon-neutral energy sources are urgently needed to solve this problem. Biophotovoltaics, a member of the so-called bioelectrochemical systems family, will provide an important piece of the energy puzzle. It aims to harvest the electrons from sunlight-driven water splitting using the natural oxygenic photosystem (e.g., of cyanobacteria) and utilize them in the form of, e.g., electricity or hydrogen. Several key aspects of biophotovoltaics have been intensively studied in recent years like physicochemical properties of electrodes or efficient wiring of microorganisms to electrodes. Yet, the exact mechanisms of electron transfer between the biocatalyst and the electrode remain unresolved today. Most research is conducted on microscale reactors generating small currents over short time-scales, but multiple experiments have shown biophotovoltaics great potential with lab-scale reactors producing currents over weeks to months. Although biophotovoltaics is still in its infancy with many open research questions to be addressed, new promising results from various labs around the world suggest an important opportunity for biophotovoltaics in the decades to come. In this chapter, we will introduce the concept of biophotovoltaics, summarize its recent key progress, and finally critically discuss the potentials and challenges for future rational development of biophotovoltaics.
Graphical Abstract
Hans Schneider, Bin Lai, Jens Krömer
Process Technologies of Cyanobacteria
Although the handling and exploitation of cyanobacteria is associated with some challenges, these phototrophic bacteria offer great opportunities for innovative biotechnological processes. This chapter covers versatile aspects of working with cyanobacteria, starting with up-to-date in silico and in vitro screening methods for bioactive substances. Subsequently, common conservation techniques and vitality/viability estimation methods are compared and supplemented by own data regarding the non-invasive vitality evaluation via pulse amplitude modulated fluorometry. Moreover, novel findings about the influence the state of the pre-cultures have on main cultures are presented. The following sub-chapters deal with different photobioreactor-designs, with special regard to biofilm photobioreactors, as well as with heterotrophic and mixotrophic cultivation modes. The latter topic provides information from literature on successfully enhanced cyanobacterial production processes, augmented by own data.
Graphical Abstract
Marco Witthohn, Dorina Strieth, Jonas Kollmen, Anna Schwarz, Roland Ulber, Kai Muffler
Correction to: Photobiohydrogen Production and Strategies for H2 Yield Improvements in Cyanobacteria
Wanthanee Khetkorn, Wuttinun Raksajit, Cherdsak Maneeruttanarungroj, Peter Lindblad
Cyanobacteria in Biotechnology
herausgegeben von
Katja Bühler
Pia Lindberg
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN


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