Researchers Engineer Novel Metabolic Pathways for Important Compounds

Achievement date: 
2013
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers at the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at Iowa State University, have engineered--from renewable feedstocks--efficient metabolic pathways for the synthesis of a group of important compounds. 

Impact/benefits: 

The novel metabolic pathways are different than those typically utilized for these compounds and have the potential for greater carbon and energy efficiencies. These pathways provide an efficient route to the biological synthesis of functionalized carboxylic acids and alcohols with important implications in the chemical industry.

Explanation/Background: 

CBiRC is focused on ways to produce industrial chemicals from bio-renewable sources. In this case, the novel pathways engineered by the CBiRC researchers utilize acetyl-CoA as the donor of two-carbon units (as opposed to malonyl-CoA) and hence have the potential to synthesize the aforementioned molecules at maximum carbon and energy efficiency (the synthesized acids and alcohols have higher-chain carbon, C>4).