Biotechnology advances

Publisher: Elsevier


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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma remains the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Glaucoma belongs to a group of optic neuropathies that is characterized by chronic degeneration of the optic nerve along with its supporting glia and vasculature. Despite significant advances in the field, there is no available cure for glaucoma. The trabecular meshwork has been implicated as the primary site for regulation of intraocular pressure, the only known modifiable factor in glaucoma development. In this review, we describe the current models for glaucoma studies, primary culture, anterior eye segments, and animal studies and their limitations. These models, especially anterior eye segments and animal tissues, often require careful interpretation given the inter-species variation and are cumbersome and expensive. The lack of an available in vitro 3D model to study trabecular meshwork cells and detailed mechanisms of their regulation of intraocular pressure has limited progress in the field of glaucoma research. In this paper, we review the current status of knowledge of the trabecular meshwork and how the current advances in tissue engineering techniques might be applied in an effort to engineer a synthetic trabecular meshwork as a 3D in vitro model to further advance glaucoma research. In addition, we describe strategies for selection and design of biomaterials for scaffold fabrication as well as extracellular matrix components to mimic and support the trabecular architecture. We also discuss possible uses for a bioengineered trabecular meshwork for both developing a fundamental understanding of trabecular meshwork biology as well as high-throughput screening of glaucoma drugs.
    Biotechnology advances 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Yarrowia lipolytica is a dimorphic, non-pathogenic, ascomycetous yeast species with distinctive physiological features and biochemical characteristics that are significant in environment-related matters. Strains naturally present in soils, sea water, sediments and waste waters have inherent abilities to degrade hydrocarbons such as alkanes (short and medium chain) and aromatic compounds (biphenyl and dibenzofuran). With the application of slow release fertilizers, design of immobilization techniques and development of microbial consortia, scale-up studies and in situ applications have been possible. In general, hydrocarbon uptake in this yeast is mediated by attachment to large droplets (via hydrophobic cell surfaces) or is aided by surfactants and emulsifiers. Subsequently, the internalized hydrocarbons are degraded by relevant enzymes innately present in the yeast. Some wild-type or recombinant strains also detoxify nitroaromatic (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene), halogenated (chlorinated and brominated hydrocarbons) and organophosphate (methyl parathion) compounds. The yeast can tolerate some metals and detoxify them via different biomolecules. The biomass (unmodified, in combination with sludge, magnetically-modified and in the biofilm form) has been employed in the biosorption of hexavalent chromium ions from aqueous solutions. Yeast cells have also been applied in protocols related to nanoparticle synthesis. The treatment of oily and solid wastes with this yeast reduces chemical oxygen demand or value-added products (single cell oil, single cell protein, surfactants, organic acids and polyalcohols) are obtained. On account of all these features, the microorganism has established a place for itself and is of considerable value in environment-related applications.
    Biotechnology advances 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The development of efficient tools is required for the eco-friendly detoxification and effective detection of neurotoxic organophosphates (OPs). Although enzymes have received significant attention as biocatalysts because of their high specific activity, the uneconomic and labor-intensive processes of enzyme production and purification make their broad use in practical applications difficult. Because whole-cell systems offer several advantages compared with free enzymes, including high stability, a reduced purification requirement, and low preparation cost, they have been suggested as promising biocatalysts for the detoxification and detection of OPs. To develop efficient whole-cell biocatalysts with enhanced activity and a broad spectrum of substrate specificity, several factors have been considered, namely the selected strains, the chosen OP-hydrolyzing enzymes, where enzymes are localized in a cell, and which enhancer will assist the expression, function, and folding of the enzyme. In this article, we review the current investigative progress in the development of engineered whole-cell biocatalysts with excellent OP-hydrolyzing activity, a broad spectrum of substrate specificity, and outstanding stability for the detoxification and detection of OPs.
    Biotechnology advances 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In the past two decades, enzymatic polymerization has rapidly developed and become an important polymer synthesis technique. However, the range of polymers resulting from enzymatic polymerization could be further expanded through combination with chemical methods. This review systematically introduces recent developments in the combination of lipase-catalyzed polymerization with atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), kinetic resolution, reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT), click reaction and carbene chemistry to construct polymeric materials like block, brush, comb and graft copolymers, hyperbranched and chiral polymers. Moreover, it presents a thorough and descriptive evaluation of future trends and perspectives concerning chemoenzymatic polymerization. It is expected that combining enzymatic polymerization with multiple chemical methods will be an efficient tool for producing more highly advanced polymeric materials.
    Biotechnology advances 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, the genus Clostridium has risen to the forefront of both medical and industrial biotechnology owing to its potential in applications as diverse as anticancer therapy and production of commodity chemicals and biofuels. The prevalence of hyper-virulent strains of C. difficile within medical institutions has also led to a global epidemic that demands a more thorough understanding of clostridial genetics, physiology, and pathogenicity. Unfortunately, Clostridium suffers from a lack of sophisticated genetic tools and techniques which has hindered the biotechnological exploitation of this important bacterial genus. This review provides a comprehensive summary of biotechnological progress made in clostridial genetic tool development, while also aiming to serve as a technical guide for the advancement of underdeveloped clostridial strains, including recalcitrant species, novel environmental samples, and non-type strains. Relevant strain engineering techniques, from genome sequencing and establishment of a gene transfer methodology through to deployment of advanced genome editing procedures, are discussed in detail to provide a blueprint for future clostridial strain construction endeavors. It is expected that a more thorough and rounded-out genetic toolkit available for use in the clostridia will bring about the construction of superior bioprocessing strains and a more complete understanding of clostridial genetics, physiology, and pathogenicity.
    Biotechnology advances 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Carboxylic acids such as citric, lactic, succinic and itaconic acid are useful products and are obtained on large scale by fermentation. This review describes the options for recovering these and other fermentative carboxylic acids. After cell removal, often a primary recovery step is performed, using liquid-liquid extraction, adsorption, precipitation or conventional electrodialysis. If the carboxylate is formed rather than the carboxylic acid, the recovery process involves a step for removing the cation of the formed carboxylate. Then, bipolar electrodialysis and thermal methods for salt splitting can prevent that waste inorganic salts are co-produced. Final carboxylic acid purification requires either distillation or crystallization, usually involving evaporation of water. Process steps can often be combined synergistically. In-situ removal of carboxylic acid by extraction during fermentation is the most popular approach. Recovery of the extractant can easily lead to waste inorganic salt formation, which counteracts the advantage of the in-situ removal. For industrial production, various recovery principles and configurations are used, because the fermentation conditions and physical properties of specific carboxylic acids differ.
    Biotechnology advances 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Muconic acid (MA), a high value-added bio-product with reactive dicarboxylic groups and conjugated double bonds, has garnered increasing interest owing to its potential applications in the manufacture of new functional resins, bio-plastics, food additives, agrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals. At the very least, MA can be used to produce commercially important bulk chemicals such as adipic acid, terephthalic acid and trimellitic acid. Recently, great progress has been made in the development of biotechnological routes for MA production. This present review provides a comprehensive and systematic overview of recent advances and challenges in biotechnological production of MA. Various biological methods are summarized and compared, and their constraints and possible solutions are also described. Finally, the future prospects are discussed with respect to the current state, challenges, and trends in this field, and guidelines for developing high-performance microbial cell factories for MA production by systems metabolic engineering are also proposed.
    Biotechnology advances 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Natural gas is a mixture of low molecular weight hydrocarbon gases that can be generated either from fossil or anthropogenic resources. Although natural gas is used as a transportation fuel, constraints in storage, relatively low energy content (MJ/L), and delivery have limited widespread adoption. Advanced utilization of natural gas has been explored for biofuel production by microorganisms. In recent years, the aerobic bioconversion of natural gas (or primarily the methane content of natural gas) into liquid fuels by biocatalysts (methanotrophs) has gained increasing attention as a promising alternative for drop-in biofuel production. Methanotrophic bacteria are capable of converting methane into microbial lipids, which can in turn be converted into renewable diesel via a hydrotreating process. In this paper, biodiversity, catalytic properties and key enzymes and pathways of these microbes are summarized. Bioprocess technologies are discussed based upon existing literature, including cultivation conditions, fermentation modes, bioreactor design and lipid extraction and upgrading. This review also outlines the potential of Bio-GTL using methane as an alternative carbon source as well as the major challenges and future research needs of microbial lipid accumulation derived from methane, key performance index and techno-economic analysis. An analysis of raw material costs suggests that methane-derived diesel fuel has the potential to be competitive with petroleum-derived diesel.
    Biotechnology advances 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: A multi-stage continuous high cell density culture (MSC-HCDC) system makes it possible to achieve high productivity together with high product titer of many bioproducts. For long-term continuous operation of MSC-HCDC systems, the cell retention time and hydraulic retention time must be decoupled and strains (bacteria, yeast, plant, and animal cells) must be stable. MSC-HCDC systems are suitable for low-value high-volume extracellular products such as fuel ethanol, lactic acid or volatile fatty acids, and high-value products such as monoclonal antibodies as well as intracellular products such as polyhydroxybutyric acid (PHB), microbial lipids or a number of therapeutics. Better understanding of the fermentation kinetics of a specific product and reliable high-density culture methods for the product-generating microorganisms will facilitate timely industrialization of MSC-HCDC systems for products that are currently obtained in fed-batch bioreactors.
    Biotechnology advances 01/2014;