Bacterial exopolysaccharides: Biosynthesis pathways and engineering strategies

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Bacteria produce a wide range of exopolysaccharides which are synthesized via different biosynthesis pathways. The genes responsible for synthesis are often clustered within the genome of the respective production organism. A better understanding of the fundamental processes involved in exopolysaccharide biosynthesis and the regulation of these processes is critical toward genetic, metabolic and protein-engineering approaches to produce tailor-made polymers. These designer polymers will exhibit superior material properties targeting medical and industrial applications. Exploiting the natural design space for production of a variety of biopolymer will open up a range of new applications. Here, we summarize the key aspects of microbial exopolysaccharide biosynthesis and highlight the latest engineering approaches toward the production of tailor-made variants with the potential to be used as valuable renewable and high-performance products for medical and industrial applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number496
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 2015


  • Bacterial exopolysaccharides
  • Biosynthesis
  • Gene clusters
  • Polysaccharide engineering
  • Tailor-made exopolysaccharides


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