APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
Production of the following from sugar or starch:
- alpha olefins including 1-hexene, 1-decene, deca-1,5-diene, aromatic alpha olefins
- polyolefins including butadiene, penta-1,3-diene, 1,5-hexadiene
- styrene and acrylate
- complex chiral synthons
- Sustainable replacement for products currently derived from petroleum
- Flexibility to achieve material properties not otherwise possible
- Lower production costs
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a suite of technologies employing Type 1 polyketide synthases (PKS)—multi-functional enzymes synthetically programmable at the gene level. These technologies yield high value chemicals from sugars or starches to provide a direct alternative for obtaining products currently manufactured from petroleum-based materials or create entirely new materials.
In this invention, the PKS technology is used to synthesize alpha olefins including polyolefins such as butadiene in microbial cultures using an engineered Type 1 PKS system. This technology can be used to produce a range of even chain and odd chain alpha olefins between C3 and C12, and possibly longer. Butadiene, a chemical monomer used to produce synthetic rubber, is synthesized by assembling a novel PKS route. The technology can also be used to make chiral synthons that could be polymerized into specialty materials or used as precursors for pharmaceuticals or other high value chemicals.
PKS employ short chain fatty acyl CoAs in Claisen condensation reactions to produce polyketides. Unlike fatty acid synthases that use a single module iteratively to produce the nascent chains, PKS are composed of discreet modules, each catalyzing the chain growth of a single step. Modules can differ from each other in composition, and a number of different starters and extenders can be incorporated. Synthesis of a desired compound can be programmed by selection and genetic manipulation of PKS.
The JBEI PKS portfolio utilizes modules that incorporate a variety of extenders, resulting in different side chains. In addition to offering an alternative approach for yielding products currently manufactured from petroleum, JBEI’s PKS technologies offer the flexibility to engineer products with characteristics that have not been achieved before or that have been too expensive to produce otherwise.
The PKS system kinetics are likely suitable for commercial production of the noted products since the individual catalytic steps of PKS synthesis are identical to those associated with fatty acid biosynthesis. Some natural polyketide producers yield 80 or more grams per liter of much larger compounds.
# # #
The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, www.jbei.org) is a scientific partnership led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and including the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels.