The use of renewable waste feedstocks is an environ-ment-friendly choice contributing to the reduction of waste treatment costs and increasing the economic value of industrial by-products. Glycerol (1,2,3-propa-netriol), a simple polyol compound widely distributed in biological systems, constitutes a prime example of a relatively cheap and readily available substrate to be used in bioprocesses. Extensively exploited as an ingredient in the food and pharmaceutical industries, glycerol is also the main by-product of biodiesel production, which has resulted in a progressive drop in substrate price over the years. Consequently, glycerol has become an attractive substrate in biotechnology, and several chemical commodities currently produced from petroleum have been shown to be obtained from this polyol using whole-cell biocata-lysts with both wild-type and engineered bacterial strains. Pseudomonas species, endowed with a versatile and rich metabolism, have been adopted for the conversion of glycerol into value-added products (ranging from simple molecules to structurally complex biopolymers, e.g. polyhydroxyalkanoates), and a number of metabolic engineering strategies have been deployed to increase the number of applications of glycerol as a cost-effective substrate. The unique genetic and metabolic features of glycerol-grown Pseudomonas are presented in this review, along with relevant examples of bioprocesses based on this substrate – and the synthetic biology and metabolic engineering strategies implemented in bacteria of this genus aimed at glycerol valorization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology