A unique feature of biotechnology is that we can harness the power of evolution to improve process performance. Rational engineering of microbial strains has led to the establishment of a variety of successful bioprocesses, but it is hampered by the overwhelming complexity of biological systems. Evolutionary engineering represents a straightforward approach for fitness-linked phenotypes (e.g., growth or stress tolerance) and is successfully applied to select for strains with improved properties for particular industrial applications. In recent years, synthetic evolution strategies have enabled selection for increased small molecule production by linking metabolic productivity to growth as a selectable trait. This review summarizes the evolutionary engineering strategies performed with the industrial platform organism Corynebacterium glutamicum. An increasing number of recent studies highlight the potential of adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) to improve growth or stress resistance, implement the utilization of alternative carbon sources, or improve small molecule production. Advances in next-generation sequencing and automation technologies will foster the application of ALE strategies to streamline microbial strains for bioproduction and enhance our understanding of biological systems.
Keywords: Corynebacterium glutamicum; adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE); biosensors; evolutionary engineering; laboratory automation.
© 2019 The Authors. Biotechnology Journal Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.