The shortage of oil resources, the steadily rising oil prices and the impact of its use on the environment evokes an increasing political, industrial and technical interest for development of safe and efficient processes for the production of chemicals from renewable biomass. Thus, microbial fermentation of renewable feedstocks found its way in white biotechnology, complementing more and more traditional crude oil-based chemical processes. Rational strain design of appropriate microorganisms has become possible due to steadily increasing knowledge on metabolism and pathway regulation of industrially relevant organisms and, aside from process engineering and optimization, has an outstanding impact on improving the performance of such hosts. Corynebacterium glutamicum is well known as workhorse for the industrial production of numerous amino acids. However, recent studies also explored the usefulness of this organism for the production of several organic acids and great efforts have been made for improvement of the performance. This review summarizes the current knowledge and recent achievements on metabolic engineering approaches to tailor C. glutamicum for the bio-based production of organic acids. We focus here on the fermentative production of pyruvate, L- and D-lactate, 2-ketoisovalerate, 2-ketoglutarate, and succinate. These organic acids represent a class of compounds with manifold application ranges, e.g. in pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry, as food additives, and economically very interesting, as precursors for a variety of bulk chemicals and commercially important polymers.
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