Non-fermentative pathways for synthesis of branched-chain higher alcohols as biofuels

Shota Atsumi, Taizo Hanai, James C. Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1206 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Global energy and environmental problems have stimulated increased efforts towards synthesizing biofuels from renewable resources. Compared to the traditional biofuel, ethanol, higher alcohols offer advantages as gasoline substitutes because of their higher energy density and lower hygroscopicity. In addition, branched-chain alcohols have higher octane numbers compared with their straight-chain counterparts. However, these alcohols cannot be synthesized economically using native organisms. Here we present a metabolic engineering approach using Escherichia coli to produce higher alcohols including isobutanol, 1-butanol, 2-methyl-1-butanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol and 2-phenylethanol from glucose, a renewable carbon source. This strategy uses the host's highly active amino acid biosynthetic pathway and diverts its 2-keto acid intermediates for alcohol synthesis. In particular, we have achieved high-yield, high-specificity production of isobutanol from glucose. The strategy enables the exploration of biofuels beyond those naturally accumulated to high quantities in microbial fermentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-89
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume451
Issue number7174
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 3 2008
Externally publishedYes

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Biofuels
Alcohols
1-Butanol
Phenylethyl Alcohol
Wettability
Keto Acids
Metabolic Engineering
Glucose
Gasoline
Biosynthetic Pathways
Fermentation
Ethanol
Carbon
Escherichia coli
Amino Acids

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Non-fermentative pathways for synthesis of branched-chain higher alcohols as biofuels. / Atsumi, Shota; Hanai, Taizo; Liao, James C.

In: Nature, Vol. 451, No. 7174, 03.01.2008, p. 86-89.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Atsumi, Shota ; Hanai, Taizo ; Liao, James C. / Non-fermentative pathways for synthesis of branched-chain higher alcohols as biofuels. In: Nature. 2008 ; Vol. 451, No. 7174. pp. 86-89.
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