Metabolic pathway engineering in lactic acid bacteria

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2003 Apr;14(2):232-7. doi: 10.1016/s0958-1669(03)00033-8.


Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) display a relatively simple carbon and energy metabolism where the sugar source is converted mainly to lactic acid. In Lactococcus lactis metabolic engineering has been very successful in the re-routing of lactococcal pyruvate metabolism to products other than lactic acid. Current metabolic engineering approaches tend to focus on more complex, biosynthetic pathways leading to end-products that generate a health benefit for the consumer (nutraceuticals). Several examples of research on these minor pathways in L. lactis have illustrated the potential of LAB as producers of these metabolites. Whole genome sequencing efforts and corresponding global technologies will have an impact on metabolic engineering in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Lactobacillus / genetics
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism
  • Lactococcus lactis / genetics*
  • Lactococcus lactis / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / genetics
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Pyruvic Acid / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Vitamin B Complex / genetics
  • Vitamin B Complex / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • NisB protein, Lactococcus lactis
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Pyruvic Acid