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Metabolic Engineering
Vol. 28, 2015, Pages: 63–73

Design of homo-organic acid producing strains using multi-objective optimization

Tae Yong Kim, Jong Myoung Park, Hyun Uk Kim, Kwang Myung Cho, Sang Yup Lee

Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (BK21 Plus Program), Center for Systems and Synthetic Biotechnology, Institute for the BioCentury, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea.


Production of homo-organic acids without byproducts is an important challenge in bioprocess engineering to minimize operation cost for separation processes. In this study, we used multi-objective optimization to design Escherichia coli strains with the goals of maximally producing target organic acids, while maintaining sufficiently high growth rate and minimizing the secretion of undesired byproducts. Homo-productions of acetic, lactic and succinic acids were targeted as examples. Engineered E. coli strains capable of producing homo-acetic and homo-lactic acids could be developed by taking this systems approach for the minimal identification of gene knockout targets. Also, failure to predict effective gene knockout targets for the homo-succinic acid production suggests that the multi-objective optimization is useful in assessing the suitability of a microorganism as a host strain for the production of a homo-organic acid. The systems metabolic engineering-based approach reported here should be applicable to the production of other industrially important organic acids.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Systems metabolic engineering; Homo-organic acid; Byproducts; Multi-objective optimization.

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