Confronted with the gradual and inescapable exhaustion of the earth's fossil energy resources, the bio-based process to produce platform chemicals from renewable carbohydrates is attracting growing interest. Escherichia coli has been chosen as a workhouse for the production of many valuable chemicals due to its clear genetic background, convenient to be genetically modified and good growth properties with low nutrient requirements. Rational strain development of E. coli achieved by metabolic engineering strategies has provided new processes for efficiently biotechnological production of various high-value chemical building blocks. Compared to previous reviews, this review focuses on recent advances in metabolic engineering of the industrial model bacteria E. coli that lead to efficient recombinant biocatalysts for the production of high-value organic acids like succinic acid, lactic acid, 3-hydroxypropanoic acid and glucaric acid as well as alcohols like 1,3-propanediol, xylitol, mannitol, and glycerol with the discussion of the future research in this area. Besides, this review also discusses several platform chemicals, including fumaric acid, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, sorbitol, itaconic acid, and 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid, which have not been produced by E. coli until now.
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