What are the potential applications of transferring these plant biosynthesis systems to industrial microorganisms?
Important products derived from plants are found across all spectrums of society, from pharmaceuticals to health supplements to rubber, flavours, fragrances, bioenergy products and even insecticides. The potential applications are vast.
What are the benefits of recreating these plant systems in industrial hosts?
Products extracted from plants suffer from needing land on which to grow crops, the requirement for fertilizers, the deployment of harsh extraction solvents, the disposal of chemically treated plant material, and the impact of annual growing cycles, weather, and disease. Once the manufacturing of these valuable products is made possible in a non-native organism, the ability to control costs, generate product year round, reduce or eliminate the use of many harmful fertilizers and harsh extraction solvents, and free up farm-land for food crops, are just the beginning of the benefits. In addition, the reconstitution of a biosynthesis pathway may permit genetic modification of that pathway, never before possible in the original plant. Doing so may enable the creation of new and better products that could never have been made in the past.