About this Research Topic
Several factors can negatively impact the production of biochemicals using microbial biocatalysts. Common hindrances include (1) microbial toxicity of intermediates or end-products, (2) loss of carbon to microbial biomass formation or the co-production of undesired byproducts, (3) difficulty to optimize metabolic pathways in vivo, and (4) costly or complex product separation steps. Therefore, a particularly attractive alternative is to eliminate the biocatalyst entirely and instead operate the desired metabolic pathway in isolation, thus circumventing these roadblocks. A lot of progress has been made recently to establish cell free biocatalysis as a viable alternative to microbial biocatalysis for the production of bioproducts.
Indeed, long considered impractical for complex metabolic pathways, cell free biocatalysis is now being considered to produce a wide range of bioproducts due, in part, to recent advances in metabolic pathway engineering, cofactor recycling and biomimetics, immobilization technologies, and direct electrochemistry of redox enzymes. Additionally, beyond in vitro production of bioproducts, cell free approaches also represent a powerful tool for pathway prototyping/optimization in cases where microbial biocatalysts still remain an appealing alternative.
With this Research Topic, our aim is to present a comprehensive view of the recent advances in the field of cell free biocatalysis and their impacts on the broader adoption of this approach for the production of a wide range of bioproducts from small volume/high value products to large volume commodity products. We are also trying to bring together different disciplines such as material science, bio/chemical catalysis, electrochemistry, enzyme engineering, and modeling. Bridging the gap between these disciplines is vital to the development of reliable and cost competitive cell free based approaches for the production of bioproducts.
This Research Topic encourages original research articles, perspectives and reviews on the topic of cell free biocatalysis to improve the production of bioproducts. Themes of interest include, but are not limited to:
• metabolic pathway engineering
• synthetic metabolic pathways
• pathway prototyping
• biomimetic cofactors
• enzyme immobilization/encapsulation
• enzyme engineering
• electrode design
• bio/material interfaces
• techno economic analysis
• cell free protein expression (for large scale production for cell free biocatalysis)
Keywords: pathway prototyping, biomimetic cofactors, enzyme immobilization/encapsulation, synthetic metabolic pathways, enzyme engineering, electrode design, bio/material interfaces, bioelectrocatalysis, cell free protein expression
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.