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The microbial cell factory.


Microorganisms have been used for decades as sources of antibiotics, vitamins and enzymes and for the production of fermented foods and chemicals. In the 21st century microorganisms will play a vital role in addressing some of the problems faced by mankind. In this article three of the current applications in which microbes have a significant role to play are highlighted: the discovery of new antibiotics, manufacture of biofuels and bioplastics, and production of fine chemicals via biotransformation.