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Microbial-based motor fuels: science and technology.

Wackett LP - Microb Biotechnol (2008)

Bottom Line: Perhaps the best fuel type to generate from biomass would be biohydrocarbons.Hydrocarbons and minimally oxygenated molecules may also be produced by hybrid chemical and biological processes.A broad interest in novel fuel molecules is also driving the development of new bioinformatics tools to facilitate biofuels research.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics and BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 551088, USA. wacke003@umn.edu

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Processes for making biodiesel (A) chemically and (B) biologically.
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f3: Processes for making biodiesel (A) chemically and (B) biologically.

Mentions: The current production strategy for biodiesel does not involve microbial biotechnology. As mentioned previously in the section on fuel molecules, the fatty acid carbon atoms in biodiesel come from animal fat waste or from plant oils. Lipids, principally triacylglycerides, are transesterified in a chemical process to produce fatty acid esters that constitute biodiesel (Fig. 3A). However, recent developments suggest that microbial biotechnology could yield a breakthrough in biodiesel production. This is because there are some current limitations in producing biodiesel. Primary among them is the limitation of oil‐producing crops; there is only so much production capacity for rapeseed in Europe and soybean in the USA. Also, the methanol used for transesterification largely derives from natural gas. Thus, the resultant biodiesel is only partly derived from renewable sources. It would be more desirable to make fatty acid esters directly from cheaper and more widely available sugars such as glucose using bacteria as the catalysts for the entire transformation (Fig. 3B). This would dovetail with extensive work on bio‐based cellulose processing to sugars and make for a potential one pot process from biomass to biodiesel. An important step to accomplishing this goal was recently taken.


Microbial-based motor fuels: science and technology.

Wackett LP - Microb Biotechnol (2008)

Processes for making biodiesel (A) chemically and (B) biologically.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3815883&req=5

f3: Processes for making biodiesel (A) chemically and (B) biologically.
Mentions: The current production strategy for biodiesel does not involve microbial biotechnology. As mentioned previously in the section on fuel molecules, the fatty acid carbon atoms in biodiesel come from animal fat waste or from plant oils. Lipids, principally triacylglycerides, are transesterified in a chemical process to produce fatty acid esters that constitute biodiesel (Fig. 3A). However, recent developments suggest that microbial biotechnology could yield a breakthrough in biodiesel production. This is because there are some current limitations in producing biodiesel. Primary among them is the limitation of oil‐producing crops; there is only so much production capacity for rapeseed in Europe and soybean in the USA. Also, the methanol used for transesterification largely derives from natural gas. Thus, the resultant biodiesel is only partly derived from renewable sources. It would be more desirable to make fatty acid esters directly from cheaper and more widely available sugars such as glucose using bacteria as the catalysts for the entire transformation (Fig. 3B). This would dovetail with extensive work on bio‐based cellulose processing to sugars and make for a potential one pot process from biomass to biodiesel. An important step to accomplishing this goal was recently taken.

Bottom Line: Perhaps the best fuel type to generate from biomass would be biohydrocarbons.Hydrocarbons and minimally oxygenated molecules may also be produced by hybrid chemical and biological processes.A broad interest in novel fuel molecules is also driving the development of new bioinformatics tools to facilitate biofuels research.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics and BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 551088, USA. wacke003@umn.edu

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus