Navigation Links
BESC scores a first with isobutanol directly from cellulose
Date:3/7/2011

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 7, 2011 In the quest for inexpensive biofuels, cellulose proved no match for a bioprocessing strategy and genetically engineered microbe developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center.

Using consolidated bioprocessing, a team led by James Liao of the University of California at Los Angeles for the first time produced isobutanol directly from cellulose. The team's work, published online in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, represents across-the-board savings in processing costs and time, plus isobutanol is a higher grade of alcohol than ethanol.

"Unlike ethanol, isobutanol can be blended at any ratio with gasoline and should eliminate the need for dedicated infrastructure in tanks or vehicles," said Liao, chancellor's professor and vice chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. "Plus, it may be possible to use isobutanol directly in current engines without modification."

Compared to ethanol, higher alcohols such as isobutanol are better candidates for gasoline replacement because they have an energy density, octane value and Reid vapor pressure a measurement of volatility that is much closer to gasoline, Liao said.

While cellulosic biomass like corn stover and switchgrass is abundant and cheap, it is much more difficult to utilize than corn and sugar cane. This is due in large part because of recalcitrance, or a plant's natural defenses to being chemically dismantled.

Adding to the complexity is the fact biofuel production that involves several steps pretreatment, enzyme treatment and fermentation is more costly than a method that combines biomass utilization and the fermentation of sugars to biofuel into a single process.

To make the conversion possible, Liao and postdoctoral researcher Wendy Higashide of UCLA and Yongchao Li and Yunfeng Yang of Oak Ridge National Laboratory had to develop a strain of Clostridium celluloyticum, a native cellulose-degrading microbe, that could synthesize isobutanol directly from cellulose.

"This work is based on our earlier work at UCLA in building a synthetic pathway for isobutanol production," Liao said.

While some Clostridium species produce butanol, these organisms typically do not digest cellulose directly. Other Clostridium species digest cellulose but do not produce butanol. None produce isobutanol, an isomer of butanol.

"In nature, no microorganisms have been identified that possess all of the characteristics necessary for the ideal consolidated bioprocessing strain, so we knew we had to genetically engineer a strain for this purpose," Li said.

While there were many possible microbial candidates, the research team ultimately chose Clostridium cellulolyticum, which was originally isolated from decayed grass. The researchers noted that their strategy exploits the host's natural cellulolytic activity and the amino acid biosynthetic pathway and diverts its intermediates to produce higher alcohol than ethanol.

The researchers also noted that Clostridium cellulolyticum has been genetically engineered to improve ethanol production, and this has led to additional more detailed research. Clostridium cellulolyticum has a sequenced genome available via DOE's Joint Genome Institute. This proof of concept research sets the stage for studies that will likely involve genetic manipulation of other consolidated bioprocessing microorganisms.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Potential CITES trade ban for rare salamander underscores wildlife e-commerce
2. Students learn environmental stewardship, improve science scores
3. Childrens blood lead levels linked to lower test scores
4. Structural biology scores with protein snapshot
5. Infant formula adulteration with melamine underscores need for better detection methods
6. Nobel Laureate underscores importance of investment in basic research
7. Teenage boys who eat fish at least once a week achieve higher intelligence scores
8. For first time, scientists show an HIV vaccine impacts the genetic makeup of the virus
9. Canadian researchers first worldwide to generate pluripotent stem cells from horses
10. Erlotinib effective and with fewer side-effects after first-line treatment
11. First harmful algal bloom species genome sequenced
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2017)... 3, 2017 A new independent identity strategy ... LLP (IdSP) . Designed to fill a critical niche ... market, founding partners Mark Crego and ... just in identity expertise that span federal governments, the ... The Crego-Kephart combined expertise has a common theme born ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... -- EyeLock LLC, a market leader of iris-based identity authentication ... You Should Know About Biometrics in the Cloud ."  ... a growing concern. In traditional schemes, cryptography is used ... schemes such as username/password suffer from inherent weaknesses. ... elegant solution to the problem of high-security user authentication. ...
(Date:2/1/2017)... IDTechEx Research, a leading provider of independent market research, business ... new report, Sensors for Robotics: Technologies, Markets and Forecasts 2017-2027 ... ... Revenues of ... for Robotics: Technologies, Markets and Forecasts 2017-2027: Machine vision, force sensing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/18/2017)... DUBLIN , Feb 17, 2017 Research ... Global Strategic Business Report" report to their offering. ... The report provides separate ... Europe , and Rest of World. Annual estimates and ... six-year historic analysis is provided for these markets. Market data and ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... , Feb. 17, 2017  Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. ... on its oral peptide drug candidates, PTG-100 and ... the European Crohn,s and Colitis Organization (ECCO).  The ... Barcelona, Spain from February 15 – ... preclinical data on Protagonist drug candidates PTG-100 and ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017  MDNA Life ... the development of liquid biopsy tests based on ... into an exclusive license agreement with its first ... proprietary liquid biopsy test for prostate cancer, the ... Korea . This is the first overseas ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... , February 16, 2017 ... infusion of innovative telemedicine application, new and leading ... are experiencing a boom worldwide. The healthcare sector ... of technologies, services and new therapies for companies ... (TSX-V: RHT), Cellectar Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ...
Breaking Biology Technology: