Biofuel alternatives to ethanol with microbes

This scientific article called Biofuel alternatives to ethanol: pumping the microbial well elaborates on  engineered microorganisms for the production of potential fuel using biosynthetic pathways. Advances in pathway portability and metabolic engineering will help develop cost efficient systems for biofuel production. Biosynthetic pathways in microbes(engineered or natural)  produce molecules that’s similar to the molecules that are present in gasoline. Scientists have engineered a strain of E. coli that yield fatty esters to produce biodiesel. Additives are used in gasoline and diesel fuel. Alcohols and ethers (additives) reduce emissions and replace toxic octane enhancers, which were previously used. Alcohols likes  ethanol, butanol, and isopentenol increase the octane rating of gasoline without decreasing the energy density. Three major pathways have been engineered to yield potential fuels. Sugar catabolism and the fermentation pathway, fatty acid pathway, and the isoprenoid pathway. lignocellulosic hydrolysate contains xylose, glucose, arabinose, galacturonic acid, and rhamnose. Since metabolism of other sugars are different in different microbes, catabolism of monosaccharides are important. E. coli ferment sugars to a mixture of ethanol and organic acids. Hydrogen-producing E.coli strain that lacks lactate producing pathways and directs glucose metabolism toward hydrogen production by overexpression of the formate hydrogen lyase. It can produce hydrogen at a yield of 1.82 mol/mol glucose, which is a lot more than what the wild-type stain of E.coli can produce. Fatty acid ethyl ester biosynthesiss was produced in recombinant E. coli. They combined the ethanole production genes from Z. mobilis with acyltransferase gene from A. baylyi. The isoprenoid pathway  can be used to produce isopentanol and  branched- chain hydrocarbons.  Further research needs to be done to engineer these biosynthetic pathways for industrial applications.


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