Gene Circuits for Dynamically Regulating Metabolism Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2018-01-16 Xiulai Chen, Liming Liu
Gene circuits are a functional innovation in synthetic biology for engineering cellular behavior. Recent advances have demonstrated that gene circuits can be exploited for dynamically controlling pathway redirection and pathway balance to produce valuable chemicals. The next frontier is to engineer robust, sensitive, and efficient circuits that adapt to changing conditions.
The Potential of Cold Plasma for Safe and Sustainable Food Production Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2018-01-09 Paula Bourke, Dana Ziuzina, Daniela Boehm, Patrick J. Cullen, Kevin Keener
Cold plasma science and technology is increasingly investigated for translation to a plethora of issues in the agriculture and food sectors. The diversity of the mechanisms of action of cold plasma, and the flexibility as a standalone technology or one that can integrate with other technologies, provide a rich resource for driving innovative solutions. The emerging understanding of the longer-term role of cold plasma reactive species and follow-on effects across a range of systems will suggest how cold plasma may be optimally applied to biological systems in the agricultural and food sectors. Here we present the current status, emerging issues, regulatory context, and opportunities of cold plasma with respect to the broad stages of primary and secondary food production.
Rational Design of Mouse Models for Cancer Research Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2018-01-05 Marietta Landgraf, Jacqui A. McGovern, Peter Friedl, Dietmar W. Hutmacher
The laboratory mouse is widely considered as a valid and affordable model organism to study human disease. Attempts to improve the relevance of murine models for the investigation of human pathologies led to the development of various genetically engineered, xenograft and humanized mouse models. Nevertheless, most preclinical studies in mice suffer from insufficient predictive value when compared with cancer biology and therapy response of human patients. We propose an innovative strategy to improve the predictive power of preclinical cancer models. Combining (i) genomic, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches for rational design of mouse models with (ii) rapid prototyping and computational benchmarking against human clinical data will enable fast and nonbiased validation of newly generated models.
Mixing Seawater with a Little Wastewater to Produce Bioenergy from Limnetic Algae Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2018-01-05 Haiyan Pei, Liqun Jiang
Microalgae are considered to be a promising feedstock for biofuel, but expansion of algal lipid production commercially still has a long way to go. Inexhaustible seawater, with a little wastewater added, has great potential to optimize microalga production so that biodiesel production can thrive cost-effectively and sustainably.
A Regulatory Perspective on Testing of Biological Activity of Complex Biologics Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2018-01-05 Marianne Saldanha, Prajakta Dandekar, Ratnesh Jain
Antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) and bispecific antibodies are becoming increasingly popular. However, their complex structures mandate stringent regulatory guidelines to ensure their safety and efficacy. We have briefly reviewed the existing regulatory guidelines and presented our perspectives on refining them to hasten the transition of these drugs from laboratories to market.
Biotechnology Patenting in the BRICS Countries: Strategies and Dynamics Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2018-01-05 Ekaterina Streltsova, Jonathan D. Linton
The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) account for 25% of global biotechnology patents. To understand the current and future landscape of the domain, it is important to better understand the capacity of these contributors. Here, we consider the thematic priorities, strategies, and key players of the BRICS countries in biotechnology patenting.
Engineering the Delivery System for CRISPR-Based Genome Editing Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2018-01-02 Zachary Glass, Matthew Lee, Yamin Li, Qiaobing Xu
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat-CRISPR-associated protein (CRISPR-Cas) systems, found in nature as microbial adaptive immune systems, have been repurposed into an important tool in biological engineering and genome editing, providing a programmable platform for precision gene targeting. These tools have immense promise as therapeutics that could potentially correct disease-causing mutations. However, CRISPR-Cas gene editing components must be transported directly to the nucleus of targeted cells to exert a therapeutic effect. Thus, efficient methods of delivery will be critical to the success of therapeutic genome editing applications. Here, we review current strategies available for in vivo delivery of CRISPR-Cas gene editing components and outline challenges that need to be addressed before this powerful tool can be deployed in the clinic.
Augmenting Research, Education, and Outreach with Client-Side Web Programming Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-12-15 Luciano A. Abriata, João P.G.L.M. Rodrigues, Marcel Salathé, Luc Patiny
Protein-Based Therapeutic Killing for Cancer Therapies Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-12-12 Naroa Serna, Laura Sánchez-García, Ugutz Unzueta, Raquel Díaz, Esther Vázquez, Ramón Mangues, Antonio Villaverde
The treatment of some high-incidence human diseases is based on therapeutic cell killing. In cancer this is mainly achieved by chemical drugs that are systemically administered to reach effective toxic doses. As an innovative alternative, cytotoxic proteins identified in nature can be adapted as precise therapeutic agents. For example, individual toxins and venom components, proapoptotic factors, and antimicrobial peptides from bacteria, animals, plants, and humans have been engineered as highly potent drugs. In addition to the intrinsic cytotoxic activities of these constructs, their biological fabrication by DNA recombination allows the recruitment, in single pharmacological entities, of diverse functions of clinical interest such as specific cell-surface receptor binding, self-activation, and self-assembling as nanoparticulate materials, with wide applicability in cell-targeted oncotherapy and theragnosis.
Point-of-Care Devices Using Disease Biomarkers To Diagnose Neurodegenerative Disorders Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-12-11 Ting-Yen Wei, Yun Fu, Kuo-Hsuan Chang, Kun-Ju Lin, Yu-Jen Lu, Chao-Min Cheng
Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases are highly prevalent and immensely destructive to the health and well-being of individuals and their families across the globe. Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the gradual loss of neural tissue in the central nervous system. Clearly, early diagnosis of the onset of neurodegeneration is vital and beneficial. Current diagnostic methods rely heavily on symptoms or autopsy results, thus overlooking early diagnosis, the only opportunity for amelioration. However, appropriately selected and used biomarker diagnostics provide a solution. This article reviews the development and application of biomarker-related diagnostics for neurodegenerative disease with specific recommendations for point-of-care (POC) methodology. These advantageous approaches may offer a solution to existing obstacles and limitations to neurodegenerative disease treatment.
Programming Morphogenesis through Systems and Synthetic Biology Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-12-08 Jeremy J. Velazquez, Emily Su, Patrick Cahan, Mo R. Ebrahimkhani
Mammalian tissue development is an intricate, spatiotemporal process of self-organization that emerges from gene regulatory networks of differentiating stem cells. A major goal in stem cell biology is to gain a sufficient understanding of gene regulatory networks and cell–cell interactions to enable the reliable and robust engineering of morphogenesis. Here, we review advances in synthetic biology, single cell genomics, and multiscale modeling, which, when synthesized, provide a framework to achieve the ambitious goal of programming morphogenesis in complex tissues and organoids.
Cyberbiosecurity: From Naive Trust to Risk Awareness Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-12-07 Jean Peccoud, Jenna E. Gallegos, Randall Murch, Wallace G. Buchholz, Sanjay Raman
The cyber–physical nature of biotechnology raises unprecedented security concerns. Computers can be compromised by encoding malware in DNA sequences, and biological threats can be synthesized using publicly available data. Trust within the biotechnology community creates vulnerabilities at the interface between cyberspace and biology. Awareness is a prerequisite to managing these risks.
Bionic Manufacturing: Towards Cyborg Cells and Sentient Microbots Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-12-07 Sarvesh Kumar Srivastava, Vikramaditya G. Yadav
Bio-inspired engineering applies biological design principles towards developing engineering solutions but is not practical as a manufacturing paradigm. We advocate ‘bionic manufacturing’, a synergistic fusion of biotic and abiotic components, to transition away from bio-inspiration toward bio-augmentation to address current limitations in bio-inspired manufacturing.
Organic Electronics for Point-of-Care Metabolite Monitoring Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-28 Anna-Maria Pappa, Onur Parlak, Gaetan Scheiblin, Pascal Mailley, Alberto Salleo, Roisin M. Owens
In this review we focus on demonstrating how organic electronic materials can solve key problems in biosensing thanks to their unique material properties and implementation in innovative device configurations. We highlight specific examples where these materials solve multiple issues related to complex sensing environments, and we benchmark these examples by comparing them to state-of-the-art commercially available sensing using alternative technologies. We have categorized our examples by sample type, focusing on sensing from body fluids in vitro and on wearable sensors, which have attracted significant interest owing to their integration with everyday life activities. We finish by describing a future trend for in vivo, implantable sensors, which aims to build on current progress from sensing in biological fluids ex vivo.
Communicating Biotech Advances: Fiction versus Reality Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-22 Aleksandra Małyska, Robert Bolla, Tomasz Twardowski
Bioscience novels use selected technologies of genetic engineering and synthetic biology to create entertaining stories. These novels are usually based on scientific knowledge, but they may arouse public concerns about technology and drive public reluctance to accept innovative technologies. The scientific community must adopt more efficient communication and transparency.
A Comparison of Techniques to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Genome Editing Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-17 Diego Germini, Tatiana Tsfasman, Vlada V. Zakharova, Nikolajs Sjakste, Marс Lipinski, Yegor Vassetzky
Genome editing using engineered nucleases (meganucleases, zinc finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nucleases) has created many recent breakthroughs. Prescreening for efficiency and specificity is a critical step prior to using any newly designed genome editing tool for experimental purposes. The current standard screening methods of evaluation are based on DNA sequencing or use mismatch-sensitive endonucleases. They can be time-consuming and costly or lack reproducibility. Here, we review and critically compare standard techniques with those more recently developed in terms of reliability, time, cost, and ease of use.
CRISPR-Based Antibacterials: Transforming Bacterial Defense into Offense Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-17 Adrienne C. Greene
The development of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria poses a serious worldwide health concern. CRISPR-based antibacterials are a novel and adaptable method for building an arsenal of antibacterials potentially capable of targeting any pathogenic bacteria.
Microfluidics for Combating Antimicrobial Resistance Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-15 Zhengzhi Liu, Niaz Banaei, Kangning Ren
The ever-growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) demands immediate countermeasures. With its novelty and enabling features including downscaled analysis, precisely controlled local environment, and enhanced speed, accuracy, and cost-efficiency, microfluidics has demonstrated potential in several key areas, including furthering our understanding of bacteria, developing better susceptibility testing tools, and overcoming obstacles in discovery and research of new antibiotics. While ample research results in the field of microfluidics are available, their transformation into practical application is still lagging far behind. We believe that the challenge of AMR will give microfluidics a much-needed opportunity to leap from research papers to true productivity, and gain wider acceptance as a mature technology.
Gravity, Tissue Engineering, and the Missing Link Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Raquel Costa-Almeida, Pedro L. Granja, Manuela E. Gomes
The influence of microgravity and hypergravity on living systems has attracted significant attention, but the use of these tools in tissue engineering (TE) remains relatively unexplored. This Forum article highlights an emerging field of research to uncover new potential applications at the interface between altered gravity and TE.
Basic and Clinical Approaches for Fertility Preservation and Restoration in Cancer Patients Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-15 Jose V Medrano, María del Mar Andrés, Sofía García, Sonia Herraiz, Teresa Vilanova-Pérez, Ellen Goossens, Antonio Pellicer
As gonadotoxic adverse effects of antineoplastic treatments can result in infertility, gamete cryopreservation is routinely offered to patients as the strategy to preserve their fertility. However, there are many cases where gold standards cannot be applied, as is the case for prepubertal cancer patients and others unable to produce gametes or their precursors at the moment of diagnosis. With an increasing number of cancer survivors in our society, strategies using either cryopreserved gonadal tissue or stem cells have been developed to allow cancer survivors to achieve fatherhood, and recent advances in the field have increased public interest. In this review, we discuss the latest updates in fertility preservation from a basic and a clinical point of view.
A Plea for the Renewal of the ISBR Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-14 Giovanni Tagliabue, Marcel Kuntz, Henry I. Miller, Klaus Ammann
The recent meeting of the International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR) focused on so-called genetically modified organisms. For decades, in most regulatory frameworks, recombinant DNA-modified organisms have been the wrong focus of unbalanced agri-food regulations. The ISBR should instead adopt a scientifically defensible and truly risk-based perspective, abandoning a misleading pseudo-category.
Biofabrication: A Guide to Technology and Terminology Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-11 Lorenzo Moroni, Thomas Boland, Jason A. Burdick, Carmelo De Maria, Brian Derby, Gabor Forgacs, Jürgen Groll, Qing Li, Jos Malda, Vladimir A. Mironov, Carlos Mota, Makoto Nakamura, Wenmiao Shu, Shoji Takeuchi, Tim B.F. Woodfield, Tao Xu, James J. Yoo, Giovanni Vozzi
Biofabrication holds the potential to generate constructs that more closely recapitulate the complexity and heterogeneity of tissues and organs than do currently available regenerative medicine therapies. Such constructs can be applied for tissue regeneration or as in vitro 3D models. Biofabrication is maturing and growing, and scientists with different backgrounds are joining this field, underscoring the need for unity regarding the use of terminology. We therefore believe that there is a compelling need to clarify the relationship between the different concepts, technologies, and descriptions of biofabrication that are often used interchangeably or inconsistently in the current literature. Our objective is to provide a guide to the terminology for different technologies in the field which may serve as a reference for the biofabrication community.
Multi-Product Microalgae Biorefineries: From Concept Towards Reality Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-10 G.P. 't Lam, M.H. Vermuë, M.H.M. Eppink, R.H. Wijffels, C. van den Berg
Although microalgae are a promising biobased feedstock, industrial scale production is still far off. To enhance the economic viability of large-scale microalgae processes, all biomass components need to be valorized, requiring a multi-product biorefinery. However, this concept is still too expensive. Typically, downstream processing of industrial biotechnological bulk products accounts for 20–40% of the total production costs, while for a microalgae multi-product biorefinery the costs are substantially higher (50–60%). These costs are high due to the lack of appropriate and mild technologies to access the different product fractions such as proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. To reduce the costs, simplified processes need to be developed for the main unit operations including harvesting, cell disruption, extraction, and possibly fractionation.
The Engineering Potential of Rhodosporidium toruloides as a Workhorse for Biotechnological Applications Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-10 Young-Kyoung Park, Jean-Marc Nicaud, Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro
Moving our society towards a bioeconomy requires efficient and sustainable microbial production of chemicals and fuels. Rhodotorula (Rhodosporidium) toruloides is a yeast that naturally synthesizes substantial amounts of specialty chemicals and has been recently engineered to (i) enhance its natural production of lipids and carotenoids, and (ii) produce novel industrially relevant compounds. The use of R. toruloides by companies and research groups has exponentially increased in recent years as a result of recent improvements in genetic engineering techniques and the availability of multiomics information on its genome and metabolism. This review focuses on recent engineering approaches in R. toruloides for bioproduction and explores its potential as a biotechnological chassis.
Functionally-Relevant Morphological Profiling: A Tool to Assess Cellular Heterogeneity Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-07 Ross A. Marklein, Johnny Lam, Murat Guvendiren, Kyung E. Sung, Steven R. Bauer
Heterogeneity in cell function has presented a significant hurdle to the successful clinical translation of many cellular therapies. Current techniques for assessing cell quality and the effects of microenvironmental cues and manufacturing processes on cell behavior often inadequately address heterogeneity due to issues such as population versus single-cell measurements and the therapeutic relevance and throughput/robustness of the assay. Due to the well-established relationship between morphology and cellular function, morphological profiling has become increasingly utilized to better understand functional heterogeneity and its impact on therapeutic development. In this review, we introduce an emerging field we term functionally-relevant morphological profiling with great potential to improve our understanding of cellular heterogeneity through discovering novel quality attributes, optimizing manufacturing, and screening drugs/biomaterials.
Genomics-Driven Natural Product Discovery in Actinomycetes Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-07 Guoqing Niu
The prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens has highlighted the urgent need for new drugs. Actinomycetes have been the most prominent sources of natural products for drug discovery and development. Advances in genomics have inspired several emerging strategies to reinvigorate the field of natural product discovery, especially in actinomycete-derived natural products.
Potential Applications of the Escherichia coli Heat Shock Response in Synthetic Biology Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-07 Joana L. Rodrigues, Lígia R. Rodrigues
The Escherichia coli heat shock response (HSR) is a complex mechanism triggered by heat shock and by a variety of other growth-impairing stresses. We explore here the potential use of the E. coli HSR mechanism in synthetic biology approaches. Several components of the regulatory mechanism (such as heat shock promoters, proteins, and RNA thermosensors) can be extremely valuable in the creation of a toolbox of well-characterized biological parts to construct biosensors or microbial cell factories with applications in the environment, industry, or healthcare. In the future, these systems can be used for instance to detect a pollutant in water, to regulate and optimize the production of a compound with industrial relevance, or to administer a therapeutic agent in vivo.
Bioprocessing Strategies for Pluripotent Stem Cells Based on Waddington’s Epigenetic Landscape Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-06 Mee-Hae Kim, Masahiro Kino-oka
As increasing numbers of cell-based therapies advance through clinical trials towards approval for use in humans, the need for robust and well-characterized cell culturing strategies is becoming increasingly apparent. We discuss here novel stem cell bioprocessing strategies based on the concept of using Waddington’s epigenetic landscape to represent the process of cellular decision-making during development. Specifically, we focus on the manner in which cell behavior triggers cell signaling pathways related to the initial cell fate decision. We also consider how various biochemical engineering strategies can be used to develop these bioprocesses to further enhance their utility in research and therapy.
Thermodynamic Activity-Based Progress Curve Analysis in Enzyme Kinetics Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-05 Jürgen Pleiss
Macrokinetic Michaelis–Menten models based on thermodynamic activity provide insights into enzyme kinetics because they separate substrate–enzyme from substrate–solvent interactions. Kinetic parameters are estimated from experimental progress curves of enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Three pitfalls are discussed: deviations between thermodynamic and concentration-based models, product effects on the substrate activity coefficient, and product inhibition.
From Genetic Stock to Genome Editing: Gene Exploitation in Wheat Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-11-05 Meng Wang, Shubin Wang, Zhen Liang, Weiming Shi, Caixia Gao, Guangmin Xia
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) ranks as one of our most important staple crops. However, its hexaploid nature has complicated our understanding of the genetic bases underlying many of its traits. Historically, functional genetic studies in wheat have focused on identifying natural variations and have contributed to assembling and enriching its genetic stock. Recently, mold-breaking advances in whole genome sequencing, exome-capture based mutant libraries, and genome editing have revolutionized strategies for genetic research in wheat. We review new trends in wheat functional genetic studies along with germplasm conservation and innovation, including the relevance of genetic stocks, and the application of sequencing-based mutagenesis and genome editing. We also highlight the potential of multiplex genome editing toolkits in addressing species-specific challenges in wheat.
Emerging Biomedical Applications of Enzyme-Like Catalytic Nanomaterials Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-10-26 David P. Cormode, Lizeng Gao, Hyun Koo
Nanomaterials have been developed for many biomedical applications, including medical imaging, drug delivery, and antimicrobial coatings. Intriguingly, nanoparticles can display ‘enzyme-like’ activity and have been explored as alternatives to natural enzymes in several industrial and energy-related applications. Recently, these catalytic nanomaterials with enzyme-mimetic properties have found new biomedical applications, from biofilm disruption to protection against neurodegeneration and tumor prevention. In this review we focus on recent in vivo studies demonstrating potential therapeutic uses of catalytic nanomaterials. We also provide insights about the relationships between catalytic activity, therapeutic efficacy, and biocompatibility that are critical for clinical translatability. Finally, we discuss current challenges and future directions for the use of these nanomaterials as novel platforms for the development of sustainable, affordable, and safe therapeutics.
Fully Artificial Exosomes: Towards New Theranostic Biomaterials Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-10-23 Pablo García-Manrique, Gemma Gutiérrez, Maria Carmen Blanco-López
Bionanotechnology routes have been recently developed to produce fully artificial exosomes: biomimetic particles designed to overcome certain limitations in extracellular vesicle (EV) biology and applications. These particles could soon become true therapeutic biomaterials. Here, we outline their current preparation techniques, their explored and future possibilities, and their present limits.
Artificial Metalloenzymes on the Verge of New-to-Nature Metabolism Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-10-20 Markus Jeschek, Sven Panke, Thomas R. Ward
Residing at the interface of chemistry and biotechnology, artificial metalloenzymes (ArMs) offer an attractive technology to combine the versatile reaction repertoire of transition metal catalysts with the exquisite catalytic features of enzymes. While earlier efforts in this field predominantly comprised studies in well-defined test-tube environments, a trend towards exploiting ArMs in more complex environments has recently emerged. Integration of these artificial biocatalysts in enzymatic cascades and using them in whole-cell biotransformations and in vivo opens up entirely novel prospects for both preparative chemistry and synthetic biology. We highlight selected recent developments with a particular focus on challenges and opportunities in the in vivo application of ArMs.
Myths and Realities Surrounding the Mysterious Caterpillar Fungus Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-10-18 Jan Martel, Yun-Fei Ko, Jian-Ching Liau, Chien-Sheng Lee, David M. Ojcius, Hsin-Chih Lai, John D. Young
The caterpillar fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis is a medicinal mushroom increasingly used as a dietary supplement for various health conditions, including fatigue, chronic inflammation, and male impotence. Here, we propose strategies to address the existing challenges related to the study and commercial production of this mysterious fungus.
Imaging Biomaterial–Tissue Interactions Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-10-17 Yu Shrike Zhang, Junjie Yao
Modern biomedical imaging has revolutionized life science by providing anatomical, functional, and molecular information of biological species with high spatial resolution, deep penetration, enhanced temporal responsiveness, and improved chemical specificity. In recent years, these imaging techniques have been increasingly tailored for characterizing biomaterials and probing their interactions with biological tissues. This in turn has spurred substantial advances in engineering material properties to accommodate different imaging modalities that was previously unattainable. Here, we review advances in engineering both imaging modalities and material properties with improved contrast, providing a timely practical guide to better assess biomaterial–tissue interactions both in vitro and in vivo.
Flow Bioreactors as Complementary Tools for Biocatalytic Process Intensification Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-10-17 Lucia Tamborini, Pedro Fernandes, Francesca Paradisi, Francesco Molinari
Biocatalysis has widened its scope and relevance since new molecular tools, including improved expression systems for proteins, protein and metabolic engineering, and rational techniques for immobilization, have become available. However, applications are still sometimes hampered by low productivity and difficulties in scaling up. A practical and reasonable step to improve the performances of biocatalysts (including both enzymes and whole-cell systems) is to use them in flow reactors. This review describes the state of the art on the design and use of biocatalysis in flow reactors. The encouraging successes of this enabling technology are critically discussed, highlighting new opportunities, problems to be solved and technological advances.
Can Microalgae Remove Pharmaceutical Contaminants from Water? Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-10-06 Jiu-Qiang Xiong, Mayur B. Kurade, Byong-Hun Jeon
The increase in worldwide water contamination with numerous pharmaceutical contaminants (PCs) has become an emerging environmental concern due to their considerable ecotoxicities and associated health issues. Microalgae-mediated bioremediation of PCs has recently gained scientific attention, as microalgal bioremediation is a solar-power driven, ecologically comprehensive, and sustainable reclamation strategy. In this review, we comprehensively describe the current research on the possible roles and applications of microalgae for removing PCs from aqueous media. We summarize several novel approaches including constructing microbial consortia, acclimation, and cometabolism for enhanced removal of PCs by microalgae, which would improve practical feasibility of these technologies. Some novel concepts for degrading PCs using integrated processes and genetic modifications to realize algal-based bioremediation technologies are also recommended.
The Impact of Systems Biology on Bioprocessing Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-10-04 Kate Campbell, Jianye Xia, Jens Nielsen
Bioprocessing offers a sustainable and green approach to the production of chemicals. However, a bottleneck in introducing bioprocesses is cell factory development, which is costly and time-consuming. A systems biology approach can expedite cell factory design by using genome-wide analyses alongside mathematical modeling to characterize and predict cellular physiology. This approach can drive cycles of design, build, test, and learn implemented by metabolic engineers to optimize the cell factory performance. Streamlining of the design phase requires a clearer understanding of metabolism and its regulation, which can be achieved using quantitative and integrated omic characterization, alongside more advanced analytical methods. We discuss here the current impact of systems biology and challenges of closing the gap between bioprocessing and more traditional methods of chemical production.
Challenges of the Nano–Bio Interface in Lateral Flow and Dipstick Immunoassays Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-28 Helena de Puig, Irene Bosch, Lee Gehrke, Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli
Lateral flow assays (LFAs) are highly attractive for point-of-care (POC) diagnostics for infectious disease, food safety, and many other medical uses. The unique optical, electronic, and chemical properties that arise from the nanostructured and material characteristics of nanoparticles provide an opportunity to increase LFA sensitivity and impart novel capabilities. However, interfacing to nanomaterials in complex biological environments is challenging and can result in undesirable side effects such as non-specific adsorption, protein denaturation, and steric hindrance. These issues are even more acute in LFAs where there are many different types of inorganic–biological interfaces, often of a complex nature. Therefore, the unique properties of nanomaterials for LFAs must be exploited in a way that addresses these interface challenges.
Ultra High Field MRI-Guided Deep Brain Stimulation Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-20 Birte U. Forstmann, Bethany R. Isaacs, Yasin Temel
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a neurosurgical treatment for neurological disorders often planned with 1.5-T or 3-T MRI. The clinical efficacy of DBS can be improved using ultrahigh-field (UHF) MRI for planning by increasing the level of precision required for an individualized approach.
Pushing Bacterial Biohybrids to In Vivo Applications Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-05-10 Morgan M. Stanton, Samuel Sánchez
Bacterial biohybrids use the energy of bacteria to manipulate synthetic materials with the goal of solving biomedical problems at the micro- and nanoscale. We explore current in vitro studies of bacterial biohybrids, the first attempts at in vivo biohybrid research, and problems to be addressed for the future.
Biotechnological Perspectives of Pyrolysis Oil for a Bio-Based Economy Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-06-27 Stefanie Arnold, Karin Moss, Marius Henkel, Rudolf Hausmann
Lignocellulosic biomass is an important feedstock for a potential future bio-based economy. Owing to its compact structure, suitable decomposition technologies will be necessary to make it accessible for biotechnological conversion. While chemical and enzymatic hydrolysis are currently established methods, a promising alternative is provided by fast pyrolysis. The main resulting product thereof, referred to as pyrolysis oil, is an energy-rich and easily transportable liquid. Many of the identified constituents of pyrolysis oil, however, have previously been reported to display adverse effects on microbial growth. In this Opinion we discuss relevant biological, biotechnological, and technological challenges that need to be addressed to establish pyrolysis oil as a reliable microbial feedstock for a bio-based economy of the future.
Advances in Alzheimer’s Diagnosis and Therapy: The Implications of Nanotechnology Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-06-27 Mohammad Javad Hajipour, Michelle R. Santoso, Farhad Rezaee, Haniyeh Aghaverdi, Morteza Mahmoudi, George Perry
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of dementia that causes major issues for patients’ memory, thinking, and behavior. Despite efforts to advance AD diagnostic and therapeutic tools, AD remains incurable due to its complex and multifactorial nature and lack of effective diagnostics/therapeutics. Nanoparticles (NPs) have demonstrated the potential to overcome the challenges and limitations associated with traditional diagnostics/therapeutics. Nanotechnology is now offering new tools and insights to advance our understanding of AD and eventually may offer new hope to AD patients. Here, we review the key roles of nanotechnologies in the recent literature, in both diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of AD, and discuss how these achievements may improve patient prognosis and quality of life.
Fast Science and Sluggish Policy: The Herculean Task of Regulating Biodiscovery Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-27 Rachel Wynberg, Sarah A. Laird
New rules for access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge have been established by the Nagoya Protocol but have not kept up with rapid scientific and technological advances in biodiscovery. This suggests the need for innovative, transdisciplinary approaches to regulate ABS and emerging technologies.
Nanoenvironmental Effects Dramatically Influence the Sensitivity of Immunoassays Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-21 B. Mattiasson, K. Teeparuksapun, L. Lebogang, M. Hedström
It is possible to improve the sensitivity of immunoassays by several orders of magnitude by exploiting nanoenvironmental effects. This approach can detect trace amounts of compounds and will better illuminate the presence of signal substances in biological systems. Here we describe a method for ultrasensitive immunoassays using ‘normal’ antibodies (Abs).
Computational Fluid Dynamics and Additive Manufacturing to Diagnose and Treat Cardiovascular Disease Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-21 Amanda Randles, David H. Frakes, Jane A. Leopold
Noninvasive engineering models are now being used for diagnosing and planning the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Techniques in computational modeling and additive manufacturing have matured concurrently, and results from simulations can inform and enable the design and optimization of therapeutic devices and treatment strategies. The emerging synergy between large-scale simulations and 3D printing is having a two-fold benefit: first, 3D printing can be used to validate the complex simulations, and second, the flow models can be used to improve treatment planning for cardiovascular disease. In this review, we summarize and discuss recent methods and findings for leveraging advances in both additive manufacturing and patient-specific computational modeling, with an emphasis on new directions in these fields and remaining open questions.
Improving Biopharmaceutical Safety through Verification-Based Quality Control Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-21 Yihua Bruce Yu, Marc B. Taraban, Weizhen Wang, Katharine T. Briggs
Biopharmaceuticals and small-molecule drugs have different approval pathways but the same quality control (QC) paradigm, where the quality of released but untested units is inferred from that of tested but destroyed units. This inference-based QC will likely miss rare prerelease defects, and defects emerging after product release. The likelihood for such defects is heightened for biopharmaceuticals due to their complexity, which makes manufacturing errors more likely, and fragility, which makes postrelease damage more likely. To improve biopharmaceutical safety, we suggest transitioning their QC from inference- to verification-based practice by developing inspection technologies that can nondestructively verify the quality of every vial from the point of release to the point of care. One candidate, water proton NMR (wNMR), is briefly discussed.
New Light for Phytochemicals Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-19 Jarmo K. Holopainen, Minna Kivimäenpää, Riitta Julkunen-Tiitto
Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting technology with narrow-bandwidth illumination helps to reduce energy consumption on covered crops. Here, we discuss how this new technology, which provides flexible modification of light spectra, will open new avenues for natural modulation of medicinal and crop plant metabolomes for better colour, flavour, fragrance, and antioxidant properties.
Deciphering Cell Intrinsic Properties: A Key Issue for Robust Organoid Production Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-17 Nathalie Picollet-D’hahan, Monika E. Dolega, Delphine Freida, Donald K. Martin, Xavier Gidrol
We highlight the disposition of various cell types to self-organize into complex organ-like structures without necessarily the support of any stromal cells, provided they are placed into permissive 3D culture conditions. The goal of generating organoids reproducibly and efficiently has been hampered by poor understanding of the exact nature of the intrinsic cell properties at the origin of organoid generation, and of the signaling pathways governing their differentiation. Using microtechnologies like microfluidics to engineer organoids would create opportunities for single-cell genomics and high-throughput functional genomics to exhaustively characterize cell intrinsic properties. A more complete understanding of the development of organoids would enhance their relevance as models to study organ morphology, function, and disease and would open new avenues in drug development and regenerative medicine.
Optical Imaging Paves the Way for Autophagy Research Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-12 Yimin Wang, Yu Li, Fujing Wei, Yixiang Duan
Autophagy is a degradation process in eukaryotic cells that recycles cellular components for nutrition supply under environmental stress and plays a double-edged role in development of major human diseases. Noninvasive optical imaging enables us to clearly visualize various classes of structures involved in autophagy at macroscopic and microscopic dynamic levels. In this review, we discuss important trends of emerging optical imaging technologies used to explore autophagy and provide insights into the mechanistic investigation and structural study of autophagy in mammalian cells. Some exciting new prospects and future research directions regarding optical imaging techniques in this field are also highlighted.
3D Quantitative Chemical Imaging of Tissues by Spectromics Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-08 Cyril Petibois
Mid-infrared (IR), Raman, and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy methods, as well as mass spectrometry (MS), can be used for 3D chemical imaging. These techniques offer an invaluable opportunity to access chemical features of biological samples in a nonsupervised way. The global chemical information they provide enables the exploitation of a large array of chemical species or parameters, so-called ‘spectromics’. Extracting chemical data from spectra is critical for the high-quality chemical analysis of biosamples. Furthermore, these are the only currently available techniques that can quantitatively analyze tissue content (e.g., molecular concentrations) and substructures (e.g., cells or blood vessels). The development of chemical-derived biological metadata appears to be a new way to exploit spectral information with machine learning algorithms.
Genome Editing for Global Food Security Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-08 Xingliang Ma, Martin Mau, Timothy F. Sharbel
Global food security is increasingly challenging in light of population increase, the impact of climate change on crop production, and limited land available for agricultural expansion. Here we outline how genome editing provides excellent and timely methods to optimize crop plants, and argue the urgency for societal acceptance and support.
Unlocking Marine Biotechnology in the Developing World Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-09-07 Cristiane C. Thompson, Ricardo H. Kruger, Fabiano L. Thompson
Fulfilling the promise of marine biotechnology as a source for environmental and biomedical applications remains challenging. New technologies will be necessary to harness marine biodiversity, and collaboration across government, academic, and private sectors will be crucial to create mechanisms of technology transfer and promote the development of new marine biotechnology companies.
Wastewater Opportunities for Denitrifying Anaerobic Methane Oxidation Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-03-08 Yali Wang, Dongbo Wang, Qi Yang, Guangming Zeng, Xiaoming Li
Denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidation (DAMO) can concurrently reduce methane emissions and nitrogen levels in aquatic environments, but how useful is this process? We propose the use of DAMO-based technology as a tool for sustainably operating wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs).
Ethnophytotechnology: Harnessing the Power of Ethnobotany with Biotechnology Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-07-24 John de la Parra, Cassandra L. Quave
Ethnobotany (the scientific study of traditional plant knowledge) has aided the discovery of important medicines. However, as single-molecule drugs or synergistic mixtures, these remedies have faced obstacles in production and analysis. Now, advances in bioreactor technology, metabolic engineering, and analytical instrumentation are improving the production, manipulation, and scientific understanding of such remedies.
Carbon Concentration in Algae: Reducing CO2 From Exhaust Gas Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-05-26 Atreyee Ghosh, Bala Kiran
Algal carbon-concentrating mechanisms can be used to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, and the resulting biomass can produce various value-added products. Mechanisms for carbon concentration in algae are complex and sometimes inefficient. We need to understand how algae successfully overcome these challenges while capturing CO2 from their nearby environment.
Endolichenic Fungi: A Hidden Reservoir of Next Generation Biopharmaceuticals Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-03-28 Brahma N. Singh, Dalip K. Upreti, Vijai K. Gupta, Xiao-Feng Dai, Yueming Jiang
Endolichenic fungi (ELF) offer an opportunity to discover emerging natural drugs. ELF are promising bioresources given their ability to produce bioactive metabolites that represent unique and diverse structural classes. Here, we assess the potential of recent technologies to provide insight into the chemical diversity of ELF for biopharmaceutical development.
Microbiome Tools for Forensic Science Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-03-30 Jessica L. Metcalf, Zhenjiang Z. Xu, Amina Bouslimani, Pieter Dorrestein, David O. Carter, Rob Knight
Microbes are present at every crime scene and have been used as physical evidence for over a century. Advances in DNA sequencing and computational approaches have led to recent breakthroughs in the use of microbiome approaches for forensic science, particularly in the areas of estimating postmortem intervals (PMIs), locating clandestine graves, and obtaining soil and skin trace evidence. Low-cost, high-throughput technologies allow us to accumulate molecular data quickly and to apply sophisticated machine-learning algorithms, building generalizable predictive models that will be useful in the criminal justice system. In particular, integrating microbiome and metabolomic data has excellent potential to advance microbial forensics.
Discovering Protein-Coding Genes from the Environment: Time for the Eukaryotes? Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-03-07 Roland Marmeisse, Harald Kellner, Laurence Fraissinet-Tachet, Patricia Luis
Eukaryotic microorganisms from diverse environments encompass a large number of taxa, many of them still unknown to science. One strategy to mine these organisms for genes of biotechnological relevance is to use a pool of eukaryotic mRNA directly extracted from environmental samples. Recent reports demonstrate that the resulting metatranscriptomic cDNA libraries can be screened by expression in yeast for a wide range of genes and functions from many of the different eukaryotic taxa. In combination with novel emerging high-throughput technologies, we anticipate that this approach should contribute to exploring the functional diversity of the eukaryotic microbiota.
Biodegradation of Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, and Their Derivatives Trends Biotechnol. (IF 11.126) Pub Date : 2017-01-05 Ming Chen, Xiaosheng Qin, Guangming Zeng
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphene (GRA), and their derivatives are promising materials for a wide range of applications such as pollutant removal, enzyme immobilization, bioimaging, biosensors, and drug delivery and are rapidly increasing in use and increasingly mass produced. The biodegradation of carbon nanomaterials by microbes and enzymes is now of great importance for both reducing their toxicity to living organisms and removing them from the environment. Here we review recent progress in the biodegradation field from the point of view of the primary microbes and enzymes that can degrade these nanomaterials, along with experimental and molecular simulation methods for the exploration of nanomaterial degradation. Further efforts should primarily aim toward expanding the repertoire of microbes and enzymes and exploring optimal conditions for the degradation of nanomaterials.
Some contents have been Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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