Navigation Links
Illinois-UC Berkeley discovery turns seaweed into biofuel in half the time
Date:8/29/2011

URBANA University of Illinois scientists have engineered a new strain of yeast that converts seaweed into biofuel in half the time it took just months ago. That's a process that's important outside the Corn Belt, said Yong-Su Jin, a University of Illinois assistant professor of microbial genomics and a faculty member in its Institute for Genomic Biology.

"The key is the strain's ability to ferment cellobiose and galactose simultaneously, which makes the process much more efficient," Jin said.

Red seaweed, hydrolyzed for its fermentable sugars, yields glucose and galactose. But yeast prefers glucose and won't consume galactose until glucose is gone, which adds considerable time to the process, he said.

The new procedure hydrolyzes cellulose into cellobiose, a dimeric form of glucose, then exploits a newly engineered strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae capable of fermenting cellobiose and galactose simultaneously.

The team introduced a new sugar transporter and enzyme that breaks down cellobiose at the intracellular level. The result is a yeast that consumes cellobiose and galactose in equal amounts at the same time, cutting the production time of biofuel from marine biomass in half, he said.

The research, performed with project funding from the Energy Biosciences Institute, included team members Suk-Jin Ha, Qiaosi Wei, and Soo Rin Kim of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Jonathan M. Galazka and Jamie Cate of the University of California, Berkeley.

Jin compared the previous process to a person taking first a bite of a cheeseburger, then a bite of pickle. The process that uses the new strain puts the pickle in the cheeseburger sandwich so both foods are consumed at the same time.

Co-fermenting the two sugars also makes for a healthier yeast cell, he said.

"It's a faster, superior process. Our view is that this discovery greatly enhances the economic viability of marine biofuels and gives us a better product," he added.

Is seaweed a viable biofuel? Jin and his colleagues are using a red variety (Gelidium amansii) that is abundant on the coastlines of Southeast Asia. In island or peninsular nations that don't have room to grow other biofuel crops, using seaweed as a source of biofuels just makes good sense, he noted.

But biofuels made from marine biomass also have some advantages over fuels made from other biomass crops, he said.

"Producers of terrestrial biofuels have had difficulty breaking down recalcitrant fibers and extracting fermentable sugars. The harsh pretreatment processes used to release the sugars also result in toxic byproducts, inhibiting subsequent microbial fermentation," he said.

Jin cited two other reasons for use of seaweed biofuels. Production yields of marine plant biomass per unit area are much higher than those of terrestrial biomass. And rate of carbon dioxide fixation is much higher in marine biomass, making it an appealing option for sequestration and recycling of carbon dioxide.


'/>"/>

Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UC Berkeley launches Synthetic Biology Institute to advance research in biological engineering
2. Berkeley Lab researchers make first perovskite-based superlens for the infrared
3. Getting organized: Berkeley Lab study shows how breast cell communities organize into breast tissue
4. Berkeley Lab researchers illuminate laminins role in cancer formation
5. Berkeley Lab to build DOE advanced biofuels user facility
6. Berkeley scientists find new way to get physical in the fight against cancer
7. Berkeley Lab researchers participate in Homeland Security study of subway airflow
8. Berkeley Lab lends expertise to India to promote energy efficiency
9. Nanyang Technological University and University of California, Berkeley pursue research alliance
10. Fossil discovery represents new milestone in early mammal evolution
11. Genomatix, USU and HJF execute a CRADA: Prostate cancer prognostic marker discovery by NGS
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/9/2016)... 2016 Vigilant Solutions announces today that an agency ... develop a lead in a difficult homicide case. The agency ... locate the suspect vehicle. Due to the ongoing investigation, the ... omitted at the agency,s request. --> ... victim was found deceased at an intersection here in the ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , February 3, 2016 ... market research report "Automated Fingerprint Identification System Market by ... Search), Application (Banking & Finance, Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) ... MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 21.0% between 2015 and 2020. The transformation and technology ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors for ... Market Are you interested in the future ... for checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those predictions ... and national level. Avoid falling behind in ... opportunities and revenues those emerging cancer therapies can ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... a new agreement with Singapore-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) and its affiliate ... and Singapore in the latest adipose and bone marrow therapies. , Through ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... , ... Date and time: March 1, 2016, 5:30 p.m. ... Center of Bucks County, 3805 Old Easton Road, Doylestown, PA 18902. , The ... open house for participants to learn about a new Master of Biomedical Science ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... strategic changes over the years and Open Access publishing is one of the ... With its 700+ open access journals and 3000+ International Conferences ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... Three-Year Initiative Supports Next Generation of ... in Life-Changing Camp Experiences ... affect the lives of children born with rare diseases, as well ... ) is announcing a new initiative designed to positively affect the ... future of rare disease care. --> To mark the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: