Navigation Links
Gene discovery potential key to cost-competitive cellulosic ethanol
Date:5/20/2010

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 20, 2010 -- Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are improving strains of microorganisms used to convert cellulosic biomass into ethanol, including a recent modification that could improve the efficiency of the conversion process.

Biofuels researchers and industrials have generated improved mutant microorganisms previously, but authors of a paper in the on-line Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identify a key Z. mobilis gene for the first time and show the strain's improved efficiency and its potential use for more cost-effective biofuel production.

"Microbes have been breaking down plant material to access sugars for millennia, so plants have evolved to have very sophisticated cell structures that make accessing these sugars difficult," said Steven Brown, staff microbiologist in the Biosciences Division and one of the inventors of the improved Z. mobilis strain.

Currently, biomass materials like corn stover and switchgrass must undergo a series of pretreatments to loosen the cellular structure enough to extract the sugar cellulose. Brown said these treatments add new challenges because, although they are necessary, they create a range of chemicals known as inhibitors that stall or stop microorganisms like Z. mobilis from performing the fermentation.

"There are two ways to combat recalcitrance, or the difficulty created by the inhibitors," Brown said. "One way is to remove the inhibitors, but this method is very expensive and would not help biofuels become cost-competitive with gasoline. The second way is what we do, which is to develop microorganisms that are more tolerant of the inhibitors."

The non-mutated strain of Z. mobilis, for instance, cannot grow in the presence of one of the predominant inhibitors, acetate. However, when gene nhaA is over-expressed by inserting a slice of DNA containing the gene into the non-mutated strain, the bacterium can withstand acetate in its environment.

Brown and lead author Shihui Yang did not stop with Z. mobilis but looked at related genes in other microorganisms and found that the method translates in different organisms.

"We took this gene and integrated it into a strain of yeast, and the improvements carried over into the yeast," Yang said.

Brown says this method of processing biomass for ethanol has the potential to become a "tool kit" a combination of mutant genes that reduce the impact of specific inhibitors. The tool kit could expand quickly, too, as scientists now have more advanced DNA sequencing technology available to identify and resequence genes.

"The DNA sequencer we used was unavailable as recently as five years ago, and it has unprecedented sequencing capabilities. It is 4,000 times more powerful than the machine that finished sequencing the human genome almost a decade ago," Brown said.

ORNL microbiologists are currently sequencing other microorganisms used in biofuels production that could also be advantageous if genetically altered to resist different types of inhibitors.

"By looking at the behavioral response to the genetic changes in this bacteria, Zymomonas, we can then look forward to improving other bacteria," Yang said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Katie Freeman
freemanke@ornl.gov
865-574-4160
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. ACS Webinar focuses on drug discovery process for small molecule therapeutics
2. Discovery could help diabetics and others with slow-to-heal wounds
3. Molecular discovery points to new therapies for brain tumors
4. TGen Drug Development partners with Horizon Discovery for integrated personalized medicine service
5. Astrogenetix Narrows in on MRSA Virulence Onboard Discovery
6. Discovery May Lead to Better Multiple Sclerosis Treatments
7. Discovery of cellular switch may provide new means of triggering cell death, treating disease
8. U discovery gives insight into brain replay process
9. Co-Creator of Six Sigma Unveils “The Great Discovery” ... the 4th Generation of Six Sigma
10. Effective prostate cancer treatment discovery
11. SeqWright Advances Genomic Discovery With Isilon IQ
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... ... Overseer at The House of Yahweh, has written a new article this week meant to ... stop cancer. Yisrayl says there are too many suffering and dying from the disease to ... pay close attention and take action. The Pastor says that the root cause of all ...
(Date:5/6/2016)... MOOREFIELD, W.V. (PRWEB) , ... May 06, 2016 , ... ... by WestBow Press) shares accounts of dying patients who have allowed those holding vigil ... June E. Kuykendall, RN, BSN, CHPN, hopes to help readers spiritually and practically gain ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... PA (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... on long-acting injectables (LAIs), today announced a development collaboration with the ... to treat serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia. , LAI medicines can offer ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... TLC Laser Eye Centers announced today that ... eye center will now be called “Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute, a TLC Laser ... the full-service facility to ensure that patients continue to receive the highest quality of ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... LELO has discovered many people are insecure about ... via email, social media and on the Volonté blog seeking advice about how to ... ‘normal’ or ‘correct’?” , While some methods are more common than others, there is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)... May 5, 2016  Diagnostic imaging has been ... to concerns that these tests cause health care costs to ... imaging, as well as the adoption of new ... medical peripherals that help health care providers cut costs, while ... medical imaging is a renowned authorized reseller of the ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... 5, 2016 Research ... "Europe Thalassaemia Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) ... and Competitive Landscape Highlights - 2016, provides ... epidemiology, Thalassaemia market valuations and forecast, Thalassaemia ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... NESS ZIONA, Israel , May ... BVXV, TASE: BVXV) announced today that BiondVax,s CEO, Dr. ... 2016 conference in New York City . ... presenting at 10:30am at Pioneers 2016, a conference presented by ... New York Palace Hotel. The BiondVax presentation that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: