Review. Plant synthetic biology for producing potent phyto-antimicrobials to combat antimicrobial resistance

Covid has turned our focus to human viral pathogens, but the challenges we face from cellular pathogens has not gone away, and is increasingly exacerbated by the development of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials. This fine review by Tiwari et al. provides an overview of how antimicrobials work and mechanisms of resistance, sources of natural antimicrobials with a focus on those from plants, and the application of synthetic biology to expand our toolkit of phyto-antimicrobials. This review provides examples of many specialized metabolites with altered production through plant chassis (as an example, production of the anti-malarial Artemisinin in Nitocotiana tabacum). It also highlights anti-microbial peptides that have been produced in plants,  and results from gene editing in plants to manipulate metabolite production. This comprehensive review will introduce any scientist, not only plant biologists, to the potential of plant synthetic biology. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Biotechnol. Adv.  10.1016/j.biotechadv.2021.107729 Want to learn more about plant synthetic biology? Check out the upcoming Plant Synthetic Biology conference (virtual) Sept 25-27, 2021.