University of Delaware researcher scores $1.15 million DOE grant for microbe research

September 5, 2018 |

In Delaware, the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Eleftherios (Terry) Papoutsakis a three-year, $1.5 million grant to study the production of clostridium bacteria as platforms for biofuels. Papoutsakis, the Unidel Eugene du Pont Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, will uncover fundamental insights about metabolism and environmental signaling in these microbes for use to produce fuels from renewable resources.

Clostridia are anaerobic bacteria that can be found in many environments that lack oxygen, from soil to parts of the human body. As these bacteria digest their food, which includes carbohydrates, proteins and many other molecules, they produce compounds such as butanol, acetone and ethanol, which are useful to makers of industrial chemicals and biofuels. Over the past few years, Papoutsakis has been utilizing unique combinations of bacteria to optimize this mix of metabolites.

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