Engineers at Iowa State University have found a way to combine a genetically engineered strain of yeast and an electrocatalyst to efficiently convert sugar into a new type of nylon.
Previous attempts to combine biocatalysis and chemical catalysis to produce biorenewable chemicals have resulted in low conversion rates. That’s usually because the biological processes leave residual impurities that harm the effectiveness of chemical catalysts.
The engineers’ successful hybrid conversion process is described online and as the cover paper of the Feb. 12 issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
“The ideal biorefinery pipelines, from biomass to the final products, are currently disrupted by a gap between biological conversion and chemical diversification. We herein report a strategy to bridge this gap with a hybrid fermentation and electrocatalytic process,” wrote lead authors Zengyi Shao and Jean-Philippe Tessonnier, Iowa State assistant professors of chemical and biological engineering who are also affiliated with the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) based at Iowa State.
The process described by the engineers “opens the door to the production of a broad range of compounds not accessible from the petrochemical industry,” Shao said.
Moving forward, the engineers will work to scale up their technology by developing a continuous conversion process, said Tessonnier, who’s a Carol and Jack Johnson Faculty Fellow and also an associate scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.
The engineers’ research was supported by CBiRC, the National Science Foundation, Iowa State’s Plant Sciences Institute and the Ames Laboratory.
Here’s how their technology works:
Shao’s research group has created genetically engineered yeast – “a microbial factory,” she said – that ferments glucose into muconic acid. By applying metabolic engineering strategies, the group also significantly improved the yield of the acid. Then, without any purification, Tessonnier’s group introduced a metal catalyst – lead – into the mixture and applied a small voltage to convert the acid. The resulting reaction adds hydrogen to the mix and produces 3-hexenedioic acid.
After simple separation and polymerization, the engineers produced biobased, unsaturated nylon-6,6, which has the advantage of an extra double bond in its backbone that can be used to tailor the polymer’s properties.
The engineers say the hybrid conversion technology offers many advantages: The reaction is performed at room temperature, it uses a cheap and abundant metal instead of precious elements such as palladium or platinum, and the other compounds involved in the reaction are produced from water.
“We gave it a try and it worked immediately,” Tessonnier said. “The process does not need additional chemical supplement, and it works amazingly at ambient temperature and pressure, which is very rare for this type of process.”
Shao and Tessonnier started talking about working together while car-pooling from a research meeting two hours from campus.
The Latest on: Biorenewable chemicals
The Latest on: Biomechanics
via Google News
The Latest on: Biorenewable chemicals
- NSF Engineering Reasearch Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC)on August 30, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge ...
- Yeast converts sugar to make renewable nylonon February 9, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Previous attempts to combine biocatalysis and chemical catalysis to produce biorenewable chemicals have resulted in low conversion rates. That’s usually because the biological processes leave residual ...
- Researchers develop, test system for making biobased chemicalson November 26, 2018 at 2:59 pm
The idea is one result of a decade of studies by the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals based at Iowa State University. Researchers will test the idea ...
- Dept. of Energy grant helps fund Iowa State’s biobased chemical studyon October 20, 2018 at 7:08 pm
The ISU researchers’ work is based on 10 years of studies by the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), which is based at ISU. The effort is backed ...
- Bioprivileged Molecules: A New Paradigm for Biobased Chemical Developmenton September 12, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Join Brent Shanks and Peter Keeling of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals at Iowa State University as they prove that the diverse-bioproduct potentiality of a bioprivileged ...
- Chemists develop biorenewable, biodegradable plastic alternativeon June 25, 2018 at 2:10 am
Colorado State University polymer chemists have taken another step toward a future of high-performance, biorenewable, biodegradable plastics. Publishing in Nature Communications, the team led by ...
- New Sustainable Production Method Could Advance Plastics and Pharmaceuticalson February 12, 2018 at 12:46 pm
Team’s new, cost-effective production method could advance the pharmaceutical and plastics industries. AUSTIN, Texas — A team of chemical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin has developed a ...
- Eco-friendly method turns raw biomass into high value chemicalson December 31, 2017 at 10:05 pm
Furfural is a biorenewable chemical. Professor Wu from Taiwan National University who was one of the main collaborators in this project said five-carbon sugars and furfural were highly valued products ...
- Center for Biorenewable Chemicals introduces idea for new molecules, innovation, valueon August 25, 2017 at 7:50 am
AMES, Iowa – With crude oil selling for less than $50 a barrel, there’s little economic incentive to develop biorenewable chemicals as only drop-in replacements for petrochemicals. That’s a reality ...
- NSF awards $12 million to Center for Biorenewable Chemicalson September 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm
And an international reputation is growing. They’re all steps the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) based at Iowa State University has made ...
via Bing News