Biochemical strategies for enhancing the in vivo production of natural products with pharmaceutical potential

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2014 Feb;25:86-94. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2013.09.009. Epub 2013 Oct 29.


Natural products have been associated with significant health benefits in preventing and treating various chronic human diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and pathogenic infections. However, the isolation, characterization and evaluation of natural products remain a challenge, mainly due to their limited bioavailability. Metabolic engineering and fermentation technology have emerged as alternative approaches for generating natural products under controlled conditions that can be optimized to maximize yields. Optimization of these processes includes the evaluation of factors such as host selection, product biosynthesis interaction with the cell's central metabolism, product degradation, and byproduct formation. This review summarizes the most recent biochemical strategies and advances in expanding and diversifying natural compounds as well as maximizing their production in microbial and plants cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biological Products / chemistry
  • Biological Products / metabolism*
  • Drug Discovery
  • Fermentation
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Plants / chemistry
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / metabolism


  • Biological Products