Transgenic cyanobacteria can be used to make chemical fuels

According to the report of the Physicist Organization Network on January 8 (Beijing time), recently, a chemist at the University of California, Davis, has genetically engineered cyanobacteria to produce butanediol, which is a kind of Pre-chemicals used to make fuels and plastics are also the first step in producing bio-chemical feedstocks to replace fossil fuels. Related papers were published in the "Journal of the National Academy of Sciences" on January 7.

The leading author of the paper and Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Davis, Dang Meixiang, said: "Most of the chemical raw materials are from oil and natural gas. We need other resources." The U.S. Department of Energy has set a target to have by 2025 One-quarter of industrial chemicals are produced by biological processes.

Bioreactions will form carbon-carbon bonds, using carbon dioxide as a raw material and using sunlight to supply energy to react. This is photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria have survived more than 3 billion years on Earth in this way. The use of cyanobacteria to produce chemicals has many benefits, such as not competing with humans for food and overcoming the shortcomings of producing ethanol from corn. However, the use of cyanobacteria as a chemical raw material also faces a difficult problem, that is, the yield is too low to convert.

The research team used an online database to discover several enzymes that just executed the chemistry they were looking for. They introduced the DNA (DNA) that can synthesize these enzymes into the cyanobacterial cells, and then gradually built a "three-step" reaction path that can make cyanobacteria convert carbon dioxide into 2,3 butanediol, which is a Chemicals used in the manufacture of coatings, solvents, plastics, and fuels.

He said that these enzymes may have different working methods in different organisms. Before the experimental test, it was impossible to predict the operation of the chemical pathway. After 3 weeks of growth, each liter of this cyanobacterial culture medium produced 2.4 grams of 2,3 butanediol - the highest yield ever achieved for chemical production of cyanobacteria, and also for commercial development. There is great potential.

Yoshihisa's laboratories are working with Japanese chemical manufacturer Asahi Kasei Co., Ltd., hoping to continue to optimize the system, further increase production, and conduct experiments on other products while exploring ways to amplify the technology. (Reporter Chang Lijun)

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