Lignocellulosic fermentation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce medium chain fatty alcohols

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Virginia Tech

The effects of climate change have made the need to develop sustainable production practices for biofuels and other chemicals imminent. The development of the green economy has also led to many industries voluntarily improving the sustainability of the products they produce. The microbial production of fatty acid-derived chemicals allows for the opportunity to reduce petroleum-based chemicals in the marketplace. However, for microbial produced chemicals to be industrially competitive, significant work is needed to improve the production capacity of industrial strains. There are a number of bottlenecks and challenges related to the production of various fatty acid derivatives that need to be addressed.

One of these key challenges relates to the source of the fermentation feedstock. While sources such as corn or sugar cane are currently common, these feedstocks compete with food supply and require nutrient-rich soils. The use of lignocellulosic feedstocks is preferred to combat this issue, however these feedstocks present their own unique challenges. Pretreatment is required to release fermentable sugars, and this process also results in various fermentation inhibitors released into the solution. A better understanding of how engineered strains utilize these fermentable sugars as well as improving resistance to the inhibitors will help to improve the chemical production capacity of these chemical products. This work will focus on describing key bottlenecks related to fatty acid-derived products, while also evaluating proposed solutions to these bottlenecks.

13C-MFA, Green Chemistry, Sustainable Production, Fermentation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, lignocellulosic biomass