September 16, 2010

Glycos Biotechnologies Creates First Ever Metabolic Process for Synthesis of Biofuels and Biochemicals from Fatty Acids

Glycos Biotechnologies, Inc. (GlycosBio), an emerging biochemical company pioneering metabolic engineering and microbiology innovations for the production of sustainable biochemicals, today announced it has created the first ever microbial platform for the efficient synthesis of biofuels and biochemicals from fatty acids. This revolutionary advancement builds on GlycosBio’s microorganism platform and further diversifies the set of feedstocks and co-products the company offers enabling greater cost savings and product flexibility for producers. This research was done in collaboration with GlycosBio’s Scientific Advisory Board Chairman Prof. Ramon Gonzalez, Ph.D, P.E. and his group at Rice University. The results were recently published in the latest edition of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

To-date cellulosic sugars from edible crops such as sugarcane, sugar beet, corn and sorghum have been used as the primary feedstock in the biological production of renewable fuels and chemicals. Concern over the sustainability of cellulosic sugars for biofuel and biochemical production has caused the industry to look for alternative feedstock sources. While nonedible cellulosic sugars have been proposed as an alternative, the availability of fatty acid-rich feedstocks and recent progress in the development of oil-accumulating organisms have made fatty acids an attractive option.

By leveraging GlycosBio’s unique microbial conversion process, researchers were able to metabolically engineer native and heterologous fermentative pathways to function in E. coli under aerobic conditions. This process created the industry’s first respiro-fermentative metabolic mode for the efficient catabolism of fatty acids and the synthesis of fuels and chemicals in E. coli. Based on this discovery, the team of researchers was able to successfully synthesize biofuels including ethanol and butanol, and biochemicals including acetate, acetone, isopropanol, succinate and propionate from fatty acids. Like ethanol, all of these chemicals show excellent yield advantages over the comparable sugar-based fermentation processes.

Source : Press Release

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