Metabolically engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum for bio-based production of chemicals, fuels, materials, and healthcare products

Metab Eng. 2018 Nov:50:122-141. doi: 10.1016/j.ymben.2018.07.008. Epub 2018 Jul 20.


Corynebacterium glutamicum is a major workhorse in industrial biotechnology. For the past several decades, this soil bacterium has been used to produce the amino acids l-glutamate and l-lysine at a level of 6 million tons per year. Utilizing novel genome editing methods and advanced tools of systems and synthetic biology, the portfolio of C. glutamicum has exploded from classical food and feed products to the chemical industry, cosmetics and healthcare applications. Within the past five years, the number of industrial products has almost doubled to approximately 70 natural and non-natural compounds. This review summarizes the state-of-the-art regarding metabolically engineered cell factories of C. glutamicum, illustrates recent key technological developments and provides examples of the major industrial applications of this important microbe.

Keywords: Adaptive evolution; Alcohol; Amino acids; Aromatics; Biosensor; CRISPR; Chassis strain; Diamines; Genome editing; Organic acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels*
  • Biological Products*
  • Corynebacterium glutamicum / genetics*
  • Corynebacterium glutamicum / metabolism*
  • Food Microbiology / methods
  • Metabolic Engineering / methods*


  • Biofuels
  • Biological Products