Could lead to a 50 percent increase in the production of biofuels
The new pathway is intended to replace the natural metabolic pathway known as glycolysis, a series of chemical reactions that nearly all organisms use to convert sugars into the molecular precursors that cells need. Glycolysis converts four of the six carbon atoms found in glucose into two-carbon molecules known acetyl-CoA, a precursor to biofuels like ethanol and butanol, as well as fatty acids, amino acids and pharmaceuticals. However, the two remaining glucose carbons are lost as carbon dioxide.
Glycolysis is currently used in biorefinies to convert sugars derived from plant biomass into biofuels, but the loss of two carbon atoms for every six that are input is seen as a major gap in the efficiency of the process. The UCLA research team’s synthetic glycolytic pathway converts all six glucose carbon atoms into three molecules of acetyl-CoA without losing any as carbon dioxide.
The research is published online Sept. 29 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.
The principal investigator on the research is James Liao, UCLA’s Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering and chair of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department. Igor Bogorad, a graduate student in Liao’s laboratory, is the lead author.
“This pathway solved one of the most significant limitations in biofuel production and biorefining: losing one-third of carbon from carbohydrate raw materials,” Liao said. “This limitation was previously thought to be insurmountable because of the way glycolysis evolved.”
This synthetic pathway uses enzymes found in several distinct pathways in nature.
The team first tested and confirmed that the new pathway worked in vitro. Then, they genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to use the synthetic pathway and demonstrated complete carbon conservation. The resulting acetyl-CoA molecules can be used to produce a desired chemical with higher carbon efficiency. The researchers dubbed their new hybrid pathway non-oxidative glycolysis, or NOG.
“This is a fundamentally new cycle,” Bogorad said. “We rerouted the most central metabolic pathway and found a way to increase the production of acetyl-CoA. Instead of losing carbon atoms to CO2, you can now conserve them and improve your yields and produce even more product.”
The researchers also noted that this new synthetic pathway could be used with many kinds of sugars, which in each case have different numbers of carbon atoms per molecule, and no carbon would be wasted.
“For biorefining, a 50 percent improvement in yield would be a huge increase,” Bogorad said. “NOG can be a nice platform with different sugars for a 100 percent conversion to acetyl-CoA. We envision that NOG will have wide-reaching applications and will open up many new possibilities because of the way we can conserve carbon.”
The Latest on: Sugars into biofuels
- Researchers collaborate to turn sugar cane waste into biofuels on February 18, 2019 at 4:49 pm
Queensland University of Technology researchers are working with Mercurius Australia to determine the economics of turning sugar cane waste into biofuels or biochemicals using Mercurius' patented REAC... […]
- Consequences of a Lower pH on February 18, 2019 at 8:43 am
Yeast in these fermenters finished utilizing sugars and increased ethanol yield closer to levels of fermenters without bacterial contamination. This pH increase was achieved by adding into the ferment... […]
- What Do China's Plans Mean For Ethanol, Corn, And Sugar? on February 18, 2019 at 8:00 am
Brazil uses its massive sugarcane crop for processing into ethanol. In 2018, a glut of sugar in the world and a bumper crop in Brazil together with a lower level of the Brazilian currency ... […]
- MSP hike to improve sugar mills operating profit margins by 6% on February 15, 2019 at 4:48 am
"This is after considering the diversion of B heavy molasses and sugarcane juice from sugar into ethanol. Notwithstanding this and the estimates of growth in domestic sugar consumption by 2-3 percent ... […]
- Maharashtra sugar mill takes lead in making ethanol from sugarcane juice on February 14, 2019 at 6:49 pm
But in case of ethanol from sugarcane juice, the mill would have to go for changes in the machinery. That is why no sugar mill was ready to go into that direction, but Warana has shown the courage,” B... […]
- Brazil mills likely to delay cane harvest due to weather, ethanol stocks on February 14, 2019 at 9:52 am
Matheus Costa, sugar & ethanol analyst at broker and consultancy ... Juan José Blanchard told Reuters. If rains continue into March, overall volumes for the new cane crop could improve even ... […]
- Cellulosic Sugars: The Latest Domtar Innovation on February 14, 2019 at 7:23 am
“This makes it a good feedstock for biofuels, biochemicals and other sugar-based biomaterials.” Cellulosic Sugars in Our Trees The idea of converting cellulosic sugars into biofuels and biochemicals i... […]
- Pune: Sugar mill takes lead in making ethanol from cane juice on February 14, 2019 at 2:47 am
But in case of ethanol from sugarcane juice, the mill would have to go for changes in the machinery. That is why no sugar mill was ready to go into that direction, but Warana has shown the courage," B... […]
- Sugar prices to rise as global market swings into deficit: Reuters poll on February 12, 2019 at 4:56 pm
"We think that the price of sugar this year will be supported by Brazil diverting its sugarcane harvest into ethanol production and reports that European farmers are switching from sugar beet into ... […]
- Sugar millers earn higher revenue from Ethanol production on February 10, 2019 at 11:48 pm
This additional tendered quantity is likely to result in diversion of 0.5 million tonnes of Sugar into Ethanol in addition to the existing quantity directly procured from molasses generated automatica... […]
via Google News and Bing News