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Current Opinion in Biotechnology

Sergey Tumanov, Jurre J Kamphorst
The lipidome comprises a large array of molecules with diverse physicochemical properties. Lipids are structural components of cells, act as a source of energy, and function as signaling mediators. Alterations in lipid metabolism are involved in the onset and progression of a variety of diseases, including metabolic syndrome and cancer. Because of this, interest in lipidomics, the comprehensive characterization of the lipidome by mass spectrometry, has intensified in recent years. However, obtaining a truly complete overview of all lipids in a sample has remained very challenging due to their enormous structural diversity...
December 1, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Daniel J Raiten, Ashley M Aimone
Climate/environmental change (C-E-C) is affecting human health and quality of life. Significant attention has been given to the impact of C-E-C on food supply, and food as a vehicle for exposure. However, C-E-C has been superimposed on prevalent malnutrition, infectious and non-communicable diseases. We discuss why nutrition is not synonymous with food and must be viewed as a biological variable that affects and is affected by both C-E-C as well as the current global health challenges. The nexus of C-E-C, food, nutrition and health must be considered in the development of safe and efficacious interventions...
November 22, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Julia I Martien, Daniel Amador-Noguez
Biofuel production from plant biomass is a promising source of renewable energy [1]. However, efficient biofuel production involves the complex task of engineering high-performance microorganisms, which requires detailed knowledge of metabolic function and regulation. This review highlights the potential of mass-spectrometry-based metabolomic analysis to guide rational engineering of biofuel-producing microbes. We discuss recent studies that apply knowledge gained from metabolomic analyses to increase the productivity of engineered pathways, characterize the metabolism of emerging biofuel producers, generate novel bioproducts, enable utilization of lignocellulosic feedstock, and improve the stress tolerance of biofuel producers...
November 21, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Sara Glass, Jessica Fanzo
Genetically modified (GM) techniques to improve the nutrition and health content of foods is a highly debated area riddled with ethical dilemmas. Assessing GM technology with a public health ethical framework, this paper identifies public health goals, the potential burdens of the technology, and areas to consider for minimizing burdens and ensuring beneficence, autonomy, and little infringements on justice. Both policymakers and food producers should acknowledge local food environments and the agricultural context of each community in order to effectively prepare communication strategies and equitably distribute any proposed GM food intervention...
November 19, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Vladimir Sarpe, David C Schriemer
Large and disparate sets of LC-MS data are generated by modern metabolomics profiling initiatives, and while useful software tools are available to annotate and quantify compounds, the field requires continued software development in order to sustain methodological innovation. Advances in software development practices allow for a new paradigm in tool development for metabolomics, where increasingly the end-user can develop or redeploy utilities ranging from simple algorithms to complex workflows. Resources that provide an organized framework for development are described and illustrated with LC-MS processing packages that have leveraged their design tools...
November 18, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Blaine A Pfeifer, Yi Tang
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 14, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Christoph Wittmann, Ramon Gonzalez
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 14, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Stéphanie Heux, Cécilia Bergès, Pierre Millard, Jean-Charles Portais, Fabien Létisse
The rise of high throughput (HT) strain engineering tools accompanying the area of synthetic biology is supporting the generation of a large number of microbial cell factories. A current bottleneck in process development is our limited capacity to rapidly analyze the metabolic state of the engineered strains, and in particular their intracellular fluxes. HT (13)C-fluxomics workflows have not yet become commonplace, despite the existence of several HT tools at each of the required stages. This includes cultivation and sampling systems, analytics for isotopic analysis, and software for data processing and flux calculation...
November 10, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Denise Marie Ney, Mark Raymond Etzel
Phenylketonuria and tyrosinemia are inherited metabolic disorders characterized by high blood levels of phenylalanine (Phe) or tyrosine (Tyr), due to mutations in genes affecting Phe and Tyr metabolism, respectively. The primary management is a lifelong diet restricted in protein from natural foods in combination with medical foods comprised mixtures of synthetic amino acids. Compliance is often poor after childhood leading to neuropsychological sequela. Glycomacropeptide, an intact 64 amino acid glycophosphopeptide isolated from cheese whey, provides a new paradigm for the management of phenylketonuria and tyrosinemia because glycomacropeptide contains no Phe and Tyr in its pure form, and is also a prebiotic...
November 8, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Lorraine Brennan
In recent years there has been general agreement that dietary advice needs to be tailored to the individual and that we need to move from a one size fits all approach. Evidence has emerged that personalising dietary advice results in improved dietary behaviours. Concomitant with this there has been an increase in the application of developing technologies such as metabolomics to nutrition studies. The concept of the metabotype has emerged and set to play a key role in the development and delivery or personalised nutrition...
November 8, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Alison Louise Van Eenennaam
Animal breeders have used a variety of methods in selective breeding programs to genetically improve food animal species. Recently this has included the use of both genetic engineering and genome editing, particularly for targeting improvement in traits for which there is no within-species or within-breed genetic variation. Both intraspecies and interspecies allele substitutions and gene knock-ins have been accomplished with genome editing tools, targeting a number of important traits. The regulatory status of such animals is unclear as the definition of a regulated article is not consistent among different regulatory agencies and organizations...
November 8, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
An Nguyen, Simon A Rudge, Qifeng Zhang, Michael Jo Wakelam
Recent advances in lipidomics tools and software assist in the identification and quantification of lipid species detected by mass spectrometry. By integrating mass spectrometric lipid data into mapped pathways and databases, an entire network of lipid species which both demonstrates the complexity of lipid structures and biochemical interactions can be constructed. Here we demonstrate lipidomics analysis at both systematic and molecular levels. This review focuses on four points: how lipid data can be collected and processed with the support of tools, software and databases; how lipidomic analysis is performed at the molecular level; how to integrate data analysis into a biological context; how the results of such analysis predict enzyme activities and potential sites for therapeutic interventions or manipulation of enzyme activities...
November 3, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Silvia Gonzali, Claudia Kiferle, Pierdomenico Perata
Iodine deficiency is a widespread micronutrient malnutrition problem, and the addition of iodine to table salt represents the most common prophylaxis tool. The biofortification of crops with iodine is a recent strategy to further enrich the human diet with a potentially cost-effective, well accepted and bioavailable iodine source. Understanding how iodine functions in higher plants is key to establishing suitable biofortification approaches. This review describes the current knowledge regarding iodine physiology in higher plants, and provides updates on recent agronomic and metabolic engineering strategies of biofortification...
October 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Jacqueline E Gonzalez, Maciek R Antoniewicz
Engineered microbes offer a practical and sustainable alternative to traditional industrial approaches. To increase the economic feasibility of biological processes, microbial isolates are engineered to take up inexpensive feedstocks (including lignocellulosic biomass, syngas, methane, and carbon dioxide), and convert them into substrates of central metabolism and further into value-added products. To trace the metabolism of these feedstocks into products, isotopic tracers are applied together with isotopomer analysis techniques such as (13)C-metabolic flux analysis to provide a detailed picture of pathway utilization...
October 22, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Marta W Vasconcelos, Wilhelm Gruissem, Navreet K Bhullar
Plant-based foods offer a wide range of nutrients that are essential for human and animal health. Among these nutrients, iron stands out as one of the most important micronutrients. Increasing the iron content in many staple and non-staple plant foods continues to be a goal of many scientists around the world. However, the success of such initiatives has sometimes fallen short of their expected targets. In this review we highlight the most recent and promising results that have contributed to increasing the iron content in different crops...
October 22, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Jennifer Haggarty, Karl Ev Burgess
The metabolome is the complete complement of metabolites (small organic biomolecules). In order to comprehensively understand the effect of stimuli on a biological system, it is important to detect as many of the metabolites within that system as possible. This review briefly describes some new advances in liquid and gas chromatography to improve coverage of the metabolome, including the serial combination of two columns in tandem, column switching and different variations of two-dimensional chromatography...
October 20, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Aymeric Goyer
Thiamin is essential for human health. While plants are the ultimate source of thiamin in most human diets, staple foods like white rice have low thiamin content. Therefore, populations whose diets are mainly based on low-thiamin staple crops suffer from thiamin deficiency. Biofortification of rice grain by engineering the thiamin biosynthesis pathway has recently been attempted, with up to 5-fold increase in thiamin content in unpolished seeds. However, polished seeds that retain only the starchy endosperm had similar thiamin content than that of non-engineered plants...
October 14, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Harold D May, Patrick J Evans, Edward V LaBelle
Risks associated with climate change are driving the search for new technologies to produce fuels and chemicals. The microbial electrosynthesis of chemical compounds, using electricity and CO2 as feedstock and microbes to deliver the catalysts, has the potential to be one of those technologies. Central to the production of multicarbon compounds by this process is the bioelectrosynthesis of acetate (electroacetogenesis), and significant improvements in productivity and insightful discoveries concerning the extracellular transfer of electrons to the acetogenic microorganisms have been made recently...
October 12, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Seth D Rhoades, Arjun Sengupta, Aalim M Weljie
Sleep and circadian rhythms studies have recently benefited from metabolomics analyses, uncovering new connections between chronobiology and metabolism. From untargeted mass spectrometry to quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a diversity of analytical approaches has been applied for biomarker discovery in the field. In this review we consider advances in the application of metabolomics technologies which have uncovered significant effects of sleep and circadian cycles on several metabolites, namely phosphatidylcholine species, medium-chain carnitines, and aromatic amino acids...
October 1, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Teesha C Baker, Jun Han, Christoph H Borchers
Matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) is a robust tool for spatially resolved analysis of biomolecules in situ. Recent advances in high ionization-efficiency MALDI matrices, new matrix deposition procedures, and the development of high spatial-resolution and high sensitivity MS instruments continue to drive new applications of MALDI-MSI, along with other MSI techniques, which allow us to visualize and determine the regio-specific and temporal changes in proteins, peptides, lipids, drug molecules, and metabolites within the tissues, cells and microorganisms...
September 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
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