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      Progress in the production and application of n-butanol as a biofuel

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      Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

      Elsevier BV

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

          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.
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            Fermentative butanol production by Clostridia.

            Butanol is an aliphatic saturated alcohol having the molecular formula of C(4)H(9)OH. Butanol can be used as an intermediate in chemical synthesis and as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical and textile industry applications. Moreover, butanol has been considered as a potential fuel or fuel additive. Biological production of butanol (with acetone and ethanol) was one of the largest industrial fermentation processes early in the 20th century. However, fermentative production of butanol had lost its competitiveness by 1960s due to increasing substrate costs and the advent of more efficient petrochemical processes. Recently, increasing demand for the use of renewable resources as feedstock for the production of chemicals combined with advances in biotechnology through omics, systems biology, metabolic engineering and innovative process developments is generating a renewed interest in fermentative butanol production. This article reviews biotechnological production of butanol by clostridia and some relevant fermentation and downstream processes. The strategies for strain improvement by metabolic engineering and further requirements to make fermentative butanol production a successful industrial process are also discussed.
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              Metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of n-butanol

              Background Increasing energy costs and environmental concerns have motivated engineering microbes for the production of "second generation" biofuels that have better properties than ethanol. Results and conclusion Saccharomyces cerevisiae was engineered with an n-butanol biosynthetic pathway, in which isozymes from a number of different organisms (S. cerevisiae, Escherichia coli, Clostridium beijerinckii, and Ralstonia eutropha) were substituted for the Clostridial enzymes and their effect on n-butanol production was compared. By choosing the appropriate isozymes, we were able to improve production of n-butanol ten-fold to 2.5 mg/L. The most productive strains harbored the C. beijerinckii 3-hydroxybutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase, which uses NADH as a co-factor, rather than the R. eutropha isozyme, which uses NADPH, and the acetoacetyl-CoA transferase from S. cerevisiae or E. coli rather than that from R. eutropha. Surprisingly, expression of the genes encoding the butyryl-CoA dehydrogenase from C. beijerinckii (bcd and etfAB) did not improve butanol production significantly as previously reported in E. coli. Using metabolite analysis, we were able to determine which steps in the n-butanol biosynthetic pathway were the most problematic and ripe for future improvement.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
                Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
                Elsevier BV
                13640321
                October 2011
                October 2011
                : 15
                : 8
                : 4080-4106
                Article
                10.1016/j.rser.2011.06.001
                © 2011

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