U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Understanding Microbial Tolerance to Next Generation Biofuels
Published: March 15, 2010
Posted: March 24, 2010

Short chain alcohols such as n-butanol are promising candidates as next generation biofuels because of their high energy density and compatibility with existing fuel supply infrastructure. Although several types of microbes can synthesize these compounds from biomass-derived sugars, their toxicity to the microbes limits the total quantities that can be produced. Scientists at the DOE Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI) have reported how exposure to n-butanol causes global changes in gene and protein expression in the model bacterium E. coli. Their studies provide clues on how the microbe regulates its response to this form of stress. These results identify new targets for reengineering microbes to improve their tolerance to n-butanol and other next generation biofuels. The research is published in the March 15th issue of Applied & Environmental Microbiology.

Reference: Rutherford, B. J., R. H. Dahl, R. E. Price, H. L. Szmidt, P. I. Benke, A. Muchopadhyay, and J. D. Keasling. 2010. "Functional Genomic Study of Exogenous n-Butanol Stress in Escherichia coli," Appl. & Environ. Microbiol. 76:1935-1945.

Contact: Joseph Graber, SC-23.2, (301) 903-1239
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)
  • Research Area: Biosystems Design

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


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