Researchers generate 10X gain in n-butanol yields

March 2, 2011 |

In California, researchers led by assistant professor Michelle Chang at Berkeley have engineered bacteria to produce n-butanol at about 10 times the rate of competing microbes, in work that will be published in the Nature Chemical Biology.

It has been long known that some Clostridium bacteria can naturally produce n-butanol. Other groups had been able to produce half a gram per liter concentrations, below commercial production titer. This research team  stuck the same enzyme pathway into E. coli, but replaced two of the five enzymes with look-alikes from other organisms that avoided n-butanol being converted back into its chemical precursors by the same enzymes that produce it.

Result? The new genetically altered E. coli produced nearly five grams of n-butanol per liter, about 10 times better than current industrial microbe systems.

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Category: Research

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