Bioengineering of carbon fixation, biofuels, and biochemicals in cyanobacteria and plants

J Biotechnol. 2012 Nov 30;162(1):134-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 Jun 5.


Development of sustainable energy is a pivotal step towards solutions for today's global challenges, including mitigating the progression of climate change and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Biofuels derived from agricultural crops have already been commercialized. However the impacts on environmental sustainability and food supply have raised ethical questions about the current practices. Cyanobacteria have attracted interest as an alternative means for sustainable energy productions. Being aquatic photoautotrophs they can be cultivated in non-arable lands and do not compete for land for food production. Their rich genetic resources offer means to engineer metabolic pathways for synthesis of valuable bio-based products. Currently the major obstacle in industrial-scale exploitation of cyanobacteria as the economically sustainable production hosts is low yields. Much effort has been made to improve the carbon fixation and manipulating the carbon allocation in cyanobacteria and their evolutionary photosynthetic relatives, algae and plants. This review aims at providing an overview of the recent progress in the bioengineering of carbon fixation and allocation in cyanobacteria; wherever relevant, the progress made in plants and algae is also discussed as an inspiration for future application in cyanobacteria.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels*
  • Carbon Cycle
  • Cyanobacteria / chemistry*
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Plants / chemistry*
  • Plants / metabolism*


  • Biofuels