A analysis group led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory bioengineered a microbe to effectively flip waste into itaconic acid, an industrial chemical utilized in plastics and paints.
Producing itaconic acid presently entails fungi feeding on comparatively pure sugars, which may be costly. In ORNL’s demonstration, the group used lignin, a waste product from biorefineries and paper mills, to develop the bacterium Pseudomonas putida for probably cheaper itaconic manufacturing.
The trick was to separate the microbes’ progress section from itaconic manufacturing utilizing dynamic controls. ORNL designed and deployed a biosensor that triggers the metabolic pathway for itaconic acid manufacturing solely after the microbes devour all of the nitrogen that fuels their progress.
“This technology could provide additional revenue for biorefineries by turning lignin into a high-value chemical,” ORNL’s Adam Guss stated. “One strain achieved nearly 90% of theoretical yield during the production phase and could be further optimized. We can also apply these methods to a range of carbon waste streams.”
Joshua R. Elmore et al. Production of itaconic acid from alkali pretreated lignin by dynamic two stage bioconversion, Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22556-8
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Team creates microbe to show waste into helpful chemical compounds (2021, May 3)
retrieved 3 May 2021
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