November 29, 2011 –
Research by Bioengineering and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Professor Jay Keasling is taking synthetic biology another step closer to full-scale production of biofuels.
Researchers with UC Berkeley and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered the first strains of Escherichia coli bacteria that can digest switchgrass biomass and synthesize its sugars into gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. What’s more, the microbes are able to do this without any help from enzyme additives.
The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), titled “Synthesis of three advanced biofuels from ionic liquid-pretreated switchgrass using engineered Escherichia coli.”
Co-authoring the PNAS paper are Gregory Bokinsky, Pamela Peralta-Yahya, Anthe George, Bradley Holmes, Eric Steen, Jeffrey Dietrich, Taek Soon Lee, Danielle Tullman-Ercek, Christopher Voigt and Blake Simmons.