Bacterial exopolysaccharides: biosynthesis pathways and engineering strategies

Front Microbiol. 2015 May 26;6:496. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00496. eCollection 2015.


Bacteria produce a wide range of exopolysaccharides which are synthesized via different biosynthesis pathways. The genes responsible for synthesis are often clustered within the genome of the respective production organism. A better understanding of the fundamental processes involved in exopolysaccharide biosynthesis and the regulation of these processes is critical toward genetic, metabolic and protein-engineering approaches to produce tailor-made polymers. These designer polymers will exhibit superior material properties targeting medical and industrial applications. Exploiting the natural design space for production of a variety of biopolymer will open up a range of new applications. Here, we summarize the key aspects of microbial exopolysaccharide biosynthesis and highlight the latest engineering approaches toward the production of tailor-made variants with the potential to be used as valuable renewable and high-performance products for medical and industrial applications.

Keywords: bacterial exopolysaccharides; biosynthesis; gene clusters; polysaccharide engineering; tailor-made exopolysaccharides.

Publication types

  • Review