Enhancement/evolution of biodesulfurization 4S pathway by genetic engineering and bioinformatic approaches

Document Type : Review Paper


1 Biology Department, Faculty of science, Gonbad Kavous University, Golestan, Iran

2 2Department of Cell and Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Science and Technology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.


Biodesulfurization could be a beneficial method in the industry for lowering the sulfur content of crude oil and could improve the efficiency of currently and costly used method, i.e., hydrodesulfurization. But, to achieve this goal, it is critical to enhancing the BDS rate using genetics and other omics approaches. The reason attributed to the fact that the desulfurization activity of currently available natural biocatalysts does not meet the needs of the petroleum industry. Based on the expression of the 4S pathway genes in several heterologous hosts with no ability of desulfurization, the involved genes are ideal targets for enhancement through genetics or metabolic engineering approaches. This review provides an overview of the reported solutions concerning identification of new desulfurizing genes and their regulation, elimination of the inhibitory effects of end products, solving the problem of mass transfer, increasing the production, specific activity, and stability of the involved enzymes, and enhancing the resistance of recombinant strains to the biodesulfurization conditions. Also, the results of some bioinformatics studies which can help in the genetic engineering of desulfurizing strains were provided. Overall, genetic engineering and bioinformatics techniques can be effective in solving the problems of the biodesulfurization process in the near future as a complementary method of hydrodesulfurization.