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      Low carbon strategies for sustainable bio-alkane gas production and renewable energy

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          Abstract

          Strategy for bio-alkane gas (propane and butane) production through the conversion of waste volatile fatty acids by bacterial cultures.

          Abstract

          Propane and butane are the main constituents of liquefied petroleum gas and are used extensively for transport and domestic use. They are clean burning fuels, suitable for the development of low carbon footprint fuel and energy policies. Here, we present blueprints for the production of bio-alkane gas (propane and butane) through the conversion of waste volatile fatty acids by bacterial culture. We show that bio-propane and bio-butane can be produced photo-catalytically by bioengineered strains of E. coli and Halomonas (in non-sterile seawater) using fatty acids derived from biomass or industrial waste, and by Synechocystis (using carbon dioxide as feedstock). Scaled production using available infrastructure is calculated to be economically feasible using Halomonas. These fuel generation routes could be deployed rapidly, in both advanced and developing countries, and contribute to energy security to meet global carbon management targets and clean air directives.

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          Most cited references37

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          Microbial biosynthesis of alkanes.

          Alkanes, the major constituents of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, are naturally produced by diverse species; however, the genetics and biochemistry behind this biology have remained elusive. Here we describe the discovery of an alkane biosynthesis pathway from cyanobacteria. The pathway consists of an acyl-acyl carrier protein reductase and an aldehyde decarbonylase, which together convert intermediates of fatty acid metabolism to alkanes and alkenes. The aldehyde decarbonylase is related to the broadly functional nonheme diiron enzymes. Heterologous expression of the alkane operon in Escherichia coli leads to the production and secretion of C13 to C17 mixtures of alkanes and alkenes. These genes and enzymes can now be leveraged for the simple and direct conversion of renewable raw materials to fungible hydrocarbon fuels.
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            BglBrick vectors and datasheets: A synthetic biology platform for gene expression

            Background As engineered biological systems become more complex, it is increasingly common to express multiple operons from different plasmids and inducible expression systems within a single host cell. Optimizing such systems often requires screening combinations of origins of replication, expression systems, and antibiotic markers. This procedure is hampered by a lack of quantitative data on how these components behave when more than one origin of replication or expression system are used simultaneously. Additionally, this process can be time consuming as it often requires the creation of new vectors or cloning into existing but disparate vectors. Results Here, we report the development and characterization of a library of expression vectors compatible with the BglBrick standard (BBF RFC 21). We have designed and constructed 96 BglBrick-compatible plasmids with a combination of replication origins, antibiotic resistance genes, and inducible promoters. These plasmids were characterized over a range of inducer concentrations, in the presence of non-cognate inducer molecules, and with several growth media, and their characteristics were documented in a standard format datasheet. A three plasmid system was used to investigate the impact of multiple origins of replication on plasmid copy number. Conclusions The standardized collection of vectors presented here allows the user to rapidly construct and test the expression of genes with various combinations of promoter strength, inducible expression system, copy number, and antibiotic resistance. The quantitative datasheets created for these vectors will increase the predictability of gene expression, especially when multiple plasmids and inducers are utilized.
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              An algal photoenzyme converts fatty acids to hydrocarbons

              Although many organisms capture or respond to sunlight, few enzymes are known to be driven by light. Among these are DNA photolyases and the photosynthetic reaction centers. Here, we show that the microalga Chlorella variabilis NC64A harbors a photoenzyme that acts in lipid metabolism. This enzyme belongs to an algae-specific clade of the glucose-methanol-choline oxidoreductase family and catalyzes the decarboxylation of free fatty acids to n-alkanes or -alkenes in response to blue light. Crystal structure of the protein reveals a fatty acid-binding site in a hydrophobic tunnel leading to the light-capturing flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) cofactor. The decarboxylation is initiated through electron abstraction from the fatty acid by the photoexcited FAD with a quantum yield >80%. This photoenzyme, which we name fatty acid photodecarboxylase, may be useful in light-driven, bio-based production of hydrocarbons.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                EESNBY
                Energy & Environmental Science
                Energy Environ. Sci.
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                1754-5692
                1754-5706
                June 18 2020
                2020
                : 13
                : 6
                : 1818-1831
                Affiliations
                [1 ]EPSRC/BBSRC Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub
                [2 ]BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre
                [3 ]Manchester Institute of Biotechnology and School of Chemistry
                [4 ]The University of Manchester
                [5 ]Manchester
                [6 ]Department of Life Sciences
                [7 ]Imperial College London
                [8 ]London SW7 2AZ
                [9 ]UK
                [10 ]C3 Biotechnologies Ltd
                [11 ]The Railway Goods Yard
                Article
                10.1039/D0EE00095G
                7de69f64-dfec-427c-bb07-5c77ea897857
                © 2020

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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