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Plant-based engineering for production of high-valued natural products


Covering: up to March 2022Plants are a unique source of complex specialized metabolites, many of which play significant roles in human society. In many cases, however, the availability of these metabolites from naturally occurring sources fails to meet current demands. Thus, there is much interest in expanding the production capacity of target plant molecules. Traditionally, plant breeding, chemical synthesis, and microbial fermentation are considered the primary routes towards large scale production of natural products. Here, we explore the advances, challenges, and future of plant engineering as a complementary path. Although plants are an integral part of our food and agricultural systems and sustain an extensive array of chemical constituents, their complex genetics and physiology have prevented the optimal exploitation of plants as a production chassis. We highlight emerging engineering tools and scientific advances developed in recent years that have improved the prospects of using plants as a sustainable and scalable production platform. We also discuss technological limitations and overall economic outlook of plant-based production of natural products.

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