Yeast cell factories for advanced biofuels and microbial robustness, part 2
Yield on sugar (or feedstock) is the most important factor for establishing commercial biofuel production. Techno-economic calculations have shown that with the maximum theoretical yield it is
possible to produce advanced biofuels e.g. for jets at costs that is close to what is achieved for ethanol (energy content per mass). However, any efforts to further improve the yields will be beneficial. Acetyl-CoA is the most important precursor molecule to produce biofuel molecules such as fatty acids and isoprenoids. Acetyl-CoA is generated from glucose via glycolysis and subsequent decarboxylation of pyruvate. This decarboxylation limits the theoretical carbon yield of the final product. Research in bacteria previously established an alternative non-oxidative glycolysis pathway using a combination of endogenous and heterologous enzymes that allows for carbon conservation. In a recent collaboration project between our group and Total, shortcomings of this pathway were identified via in silico modelling. We were able to introduce an additional enzymatic reaction in yeast that will overcome these limitations and thus allow for establishment of an improved carbon conservation pathway in yeast. In this work package, this pathway will be further characterized and used to produce fuels and chemicals. PI of the project will be Verena Siewers, who will receive the AoA funding, supported by PhD student John Hellgren.
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