The Benefits Of Genetic Engineering

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The article is based on the fact that microbes are capable of changing carbon dioxide into biomass. In most cases, the organism derives energy from sunlight, photoautotrophy and also from inorganic electronic donors, chemolithoautotrophy. It is by this that the authors claim that the potential for this organism to be used for the large-scale industrial production of biofuels and other useful chemicals remains largely untapped. The employment of genetic engineering to augment the autotrophic host's productivity pathways offers hope for improved and increased productivity. Other techniques entail the transfer of the processes to heterotrophic organisms.

Autotrophic production is said to be more efficient as a source of fuel than that from
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This has given rise to microbial electrosynthesis where chemolithoautotrophs are used to generate chemicals and biofuels are generated from electron donors. Non-carbon electron donors include H2, Fe2+, NH4 and all are produced and mobilized by electrical energy.

A suitable host physiologically, genetically and biochemically forms the basis for efficient autotrophic production. The heterotrophs Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae have so far been ideal. However, these organisms will have to be transformed to full autotrophs using sophisticated and complex engineering methods. The use of mixotrophy where autotrophs systems are incorporated into heterotrophs seems to give better outcomes.

The natural photoautotrophic microorganism is categorized into oxygenic and anoxygenic groups. Oxygenic photoautotrophs such as Cyanobacterial Synechocystis species and Synechococcus species have been used in conjunction with metabolic engineering to produce isobutyraldehyde, l-lactic acid and 2,3-butanediol. Eukaryotic microalgae such as Chlamydomonas reimnhardtii can produce lipids and alkanes. Oxygenic photoautotrophs possess water splitting oxygen producing photosystems. These systems can produce reducing power and a proton gradient for ATP energy production.

The photosystems of anoxygenic photolithoautotrophic microorganisms cannot split water. They rely on inorganic electronic donors to generate reducing power. An example is Rhodabacter
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