Biobutanol is gaining much attention as a potential biofuel due to its superior properties over ethanol. Butanol has been naturally produced via acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation by many Clostridium species, which are not very user-friendly bacteria. Therefore, to improve butanol titers and yield, various butanol synthesis pathways have been engineered in Escherichia coli, a much more robust and convenient host than Clostridium species. This review mainly focuses on the biosynthesis of n-butanol in engineered E. coli with an emphasis on efficient enzymes for butanol production in E. coli, butanol competing pathways, and genome engineering of E. coli for butanol production. In addition, the use of alternate strategies for butanol biosynthesis/enhancement, alternate substrates for the low cost of butanol production, and genetic improvement for butanol tolerance in E. coli have also been discussed.

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