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Global Bioenergies Succeeds in Creating a Bacterial Prototype That Produces Isobutene From Glucose
Date:10/6/2010

cial metabolic pathway created by the company.

Global Bioenergies announces that it has reached a key milestone in the development of its process for the transformation of renewable resources into gaseous isobutene (also called isobutylene or methylpropene). An initial series of bacterial strains were developed that can produce isobutene by transforming glucose.

Marc Delcourt, co-founder and CEO of the company, states, "We have achieved our goal to bioproduce isobutene in vivo ahead of target. We are now concentrating our efforts on increasing both the rate and scale of fermentation. We plan to carry out pilot plant tests prior to the industrial exploitation of the process. This phase will require new financial investment."

Philippe Marliere, co-founder and designer of the process, adds, "We have taught a bacterium to convert glucose to isobutene through an entirely novel process. The metabolic layout that we established passes by 3-hydroxy-isovalerate (also called 3-hydroxy-3-methylbutyrate). This chemical intermediate, which is absent from natural bacteria is, in turn, enzymatically converted into isobutene in our strains. The process is set up in accordance with the patent application filed in July 2008."

Jean-Marc Paris, professor at the EcoleSuperieure de Physique et de Chimie (Paris Tech) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board, concludes, "This is the first time that an artificial metabolic pathway, which leads the production of a light olefin from renewable resources, has been designed and assembled in a micro-organism. These results set a precedent for the in-depth changes which the worldwide chemical industry will have to undergo in the 21st century."

Fuels, as well as a variety of polymers, representing a global market of $29b, can be manufactured from isobutene. Global Bioenergies is now focused on repeating this success with other molecules of the light olefin family, such as ethylene and propylene, each one
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