Engineering of an oleaginous bacterium for the production of fatty acids and fuels

Journal: Nature Chemical Biology

Published: 2019-06-17

DOI: 10.1038/s41589-019-0295-5

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 5

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Research Highlight

Biofuel from bacteria

© Reptile8488/Getty

© Reptile8488/Getty

A genetically engineered bacterium can convert sugar into fatty acids and biofuel at the highest levels reported to date.

To reduce society’s dependence on fossil fuels, scientists are looking for environmentally friendly ways to produce fuels and industrially useful chemicals. One promising way to achieve that is to use genetic engineering to tinker with the metabolism of bacteria. But it has been difficult to produce commercially viable levels of biofuel.

Now, a team of researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has modified the metabolism of an oil-accumulating bacterium so that it produces higher levels of fatty acids and two biodiesels from glucose.

The researchers predict that this approach of using oil-accumulating bacteria could be harnessed to sustainably produce chemicals and fuels.

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  1. Nature Chemical Biology 15, 721–729 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41589-019-0295-5
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Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea 1