1,3-propanediol (1,3-PD) is a chemical compound with myriad applications particularly as a monomer for the production of polyesters, polyethers and polyurethanes. It is a raw material for the production of biodegradable plastics, films, solvents, adhesives, detergents, cosmetics and medicines. Various strategies have been employed for the microbial production of 1,3-PD which include several bioprocess cultivation techniques facilitated by natural and/or genetically engineered microbes. Though 1,3-PD is produced in nature by the bioconversion of glycerol its production directly from sugars like glucose has been also made possible by the development of recombinant strains. This review presents the "state of the art" in the biotechnological production technologies of 1,3-PD particularly with respect to bioprocess engineering methods. It also highlights the significance of mathematical model-based approach for designing various bioreactor operating strategies to facilitate the improvement in 1,3-PD production. Attempt has also been made to focus on the protocols used for downstream processing of 1,3-PD and the associated problems. Finally concluding remarks on the future outlook on biobased 1,3-PD to reduce the dependence on disappearing fossil fuels are presented. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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