Enzymes revolutionize the bioproduction of value-added compounds: From enzyme discovery to special applications

Birgit Wiltschi*, Tomislav Cernava, Alexander Dennig, Meritxell Galindo, Martina Geier, Steffen Gruber, Marianne Haberbauer, Petra Heidinger, Enrique Herrero Acero, Regina Kratzer, Christiane Luley-Goedl, Christina A Müller, Julia Pitzer, Doris Ribitsch, Michael Sauer, Katharina Schmölzer, Wolfgang Schnitzhofer, Christoph W Sensen, Jung Soh, Kerstin SteinerChristoph K Winkler, Margit Winkler, Tamara Wriessnegger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Competitive sustainable production in industry demands new and better biocatalysts, optimized bioprocesses and cost-effective product recovery. Our review sheds light on the progress made for the individual steps towards these goals, starting with the discovery of new enzymes and their corresponding genes. The enzymes are subsequently engineered to improve their performance, combined in reaction cascades to expand the reaction scope and integrated in whole cells to provide an optimal environment for the bioconversion. Strain engineering using synthetic biology methods tunes the host for production, reaction design optimizes the reaction conditions and downstream processing ensures the efficient recovery of commercially viable products. Selected examples illustrate how modified enzymes can revolutionize future-oriented applications ranging from the bioproduction of bulk-, specialty- and fine chemicals, active pharmaceutical ingredients and carbohydrates, over the conversion of the greenhouse-gas CO2 into valuable products and biocontrol in agriculture, to recycling of synthetic polymers and recovery of precious metals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107520
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2020


  • Biocatalysis
  • Combinatorial DNA assembly
  • Downstream processing
  • Enzyme cascade
  • Enzyme discovery
  • Enzyme engineering
  • Gene model
  • Host strain design
  • Process design
  • Whole-cell biotransformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Application


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