A collaboration between the UK and Brazil has shown that waste sugar cane and wheat straw from agricultural processes can be made directly into valuable chemicals with an increase in value of 5000-fold.
The new breakthrough demonstrates that biofuels and high-value chemicals, such as chemicals used by the food industry and precursors for human therapeutic drugs, can be produced directly from waste biomass in a single 'one-pot' process. This added value offers the potential to make the economics of biofuel production from plant-based sources more viable. The new process has the potential to add value to the process of making biofuels from plants, particularly from sugarcane and wheat straw which are abundantly found in Brazil and the UK respectively.
The work is part of a UK-Brazil five-year program grant being funded by the Biotech & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and FAPESP in Brazil. The UK has awarded more than £2 million to the University of Manchester, The University of Warwick and UCL for the project. (Source: University of Manchester, PR, Dec., 2019)
Contact: Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, Dr. Neil Dixon, www.mib.ac.uk; University of Manchester, www.manchester.ac.uk; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, www.bbsrc.ukri.org
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According to the researchers, Halomonas bacteria provides a viable "microbial chassis" that can be engineered for the economical production of next generation bio-based jet fuel.
(Source: Univ.of Manchester, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology Bio Market Insights, 23 Oct., 2019) Contact: University of Manchester, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, Professor Nigel Scrutton, Director, +44 161 306 5200, www.mib.ac.uk
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The Manchester research group, has discovered that the bacteria species called Halomonas, which grows in seawater, provides a viable "microbial chassis" that can be engineered to make high value compounds. This in turn means products like bio-based jet fuel could be made economically using production methods similar to those in the brewery industry and using renewable resources such as seawater and sugar. The breakthrough behind this approach is the ability to re-engineer the microbe's genome so to change its metabolism and create different types of high value chemical compounds which could be renewable alternatives to crude oil, according to the release.
Dr Benjamin Harvey and his team of researchers at the ONR facilities in China Lake, California, have pioneered this exciting work on converting biological precursors to relevant jet fuels.
Following on from this research, Professor Nigel Scrutton explained, "Effective biofuels strategies require the economic production of fuels derived from a robust microbial host on a very large scale -- usually cultivated on renewable waste biomass or industrial waste streams -- but also with minimal downstream processing and avoids use of fresh water. With Halomonas these requirements can be met, so minimizing capital and operational costs in the production of these next generation biofuels. In the case of the jet fuel intermediates we are bio-producing, they are chemically identical to petrochemical derived molecules, and will be able to 'drop-in' to processes developed at China Lake."
(Source: University of Manchester, PR, Oct., 2019) Contact: University of Manchester, Professor Nigel Scrutton, Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, +44 (0)161 306 5200,
www.mib.ac.uk; U.S. Office of Naval Research Global, 703-696-5031,
703-696-5940 - fax,
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