Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 89, Issue 4, pp 939–948 | Cite as

Production of recombinant proteins and metabolites in yeasts

When are these systems better than bacterial production systems?
  • Danilo Porro
  • Brigitte Gasser
  • Tiziana Fossati
  • Michael Maurer
  • Paola Branduardi
  • Michael Sauer
  • Diethard Mattanovich


Recombinant DNA (rDNA) technologies allow the production of a wide range of peptides, proteins and metabolites from naturally non-producing cells. Since human insulin was the first heterologous compound produced in a laboratory in 1977, rDNA technology has become one of the most important technologies developed in the 20th century. Recombinant protein and metabolites production is a multi-billion dollar market. The development of a new product begins with the choice of the cell factory. The final application of the compound dictates the main criteria that should be taken into consideration: (1) quality, (2) quantity, (3) yield and (4) space time yield of the desired product. Quantity and quality are the most predominant requirements that must be considered for the commercial production of a protein. Quantity and yield are the requirements for the production of a metabolite. Finally, space time yield is crucial for any production process. It therefore becomes clear why the perfect host does not exist yet, and why—despite important advances in rDNA applications in higher eukaryotic cells—microbial biodiversity continues to represent a potential source of attractive cell factories. In this review, we compare the advantages and limitations of the principal yeast and bacterial workhorse systems.


Recombinant proteins Recombinant metabolites Bacterial host systems Yeast host systems Industrial biotechnology 



This work was partially supported by the Italian FAR 2009 12-1-5140000-65. This work was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), projects I37-B03 and L391-B11, and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (program FHplus), projects OPTIPRO and METORGANIC.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danilo Porro
    • 1
  • Brigitte Gasser
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tiziana Fossati
    • 1
  • Michael Maurer
    • 2
    • 4
  • Paola Branduardi
    • 1
  • Michael Sauer
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Diethard Mattanovich
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology and BiosciencesUniversity of Milan BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB GmbH)ViennaAustria
  4. 4.School of BioengineeringUniversity of Applied Sciences FH Campus WienViennaAustria

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