Jun 24, 2019 | Updated: 04:51 PM EDT

Producing biofuels from Escherichia coli

Feb 25, 2019 05:54 AM EST

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Escherichia coli bacteria
(Photo : By NIAID - E. coli Bacteria, CC BY 2.0)

A new method in producing bioproducts by optimizing and genetically engineering E. coli bacteria has been proposed. 

The attention of many engineers and biologists were captured by the undertaking of Tatiana Mello, a mechanical engineering graduate student of Louisiana State University. She proposed to expand production of biodiesel through E. coli bacteria. 

"The main feedstocks used in the U.S. for biodiesel are soybean and corn oil," she said. "The actual production is enough to feed us, but you have the surplus that nobody knew what to do with, so biodiesel was created. This market is growing and growing. They expect within a few decades, the surplus won't be enough to produce biodiesel. E. coli is cheap and abundant, and you can just genetically modify it to fulfill this need."

The aim of the research is to create Malonyl-CoA bioproducts that include plastics, biodiesel, polymers, and pharmaceuticals. Malonyl-CoA has significant functions in fatty acid metabolism regulation and food intake. It also resides in human bacteria. 

"Malonyl-CoA maximization is the topic of my research because it's a precursor for so many things," she said.

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