Abstract

Currently, the generation of isoprenoid factories in microalgae relies on two strategies: 1) enhanced production of endogenous isoprenoids; or 2) production of heterologous terpenes by metabolic engineering. Nevertheless, low titers and productivity are still a feature of isoprenoid biotechnology and need to be addressed. In this context, the mechanisms underlying isoprenoid biosynthesis in microalgae and its relationship with central carbon metabolism are reviewed. Developments in microalgal biotechnology are discussed, and a new approach of integrated “design-build-test-learn” cycle is advocated to the trends, challenges and prospects involved in isoprenoid engineering. The emerging and promising strategies and tools are discussed for microalgal engineering in the future. This review encourages a systematic engineering perspective aimed at potentiating progress in isoprenoid engineering of photosynthetic microalgae.

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