Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The future of metabolic engineering

R&D Magazine
Friday, December 3, 2010

Metabolic engineering—the practice of altering genes and metabolic pathways within a cell or microorganism—could one day be used to mass-produce biofuels, pharmaceuticals and other chemical products from inexpensive and renewable starting materials. (Image by Flavio Robles, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)

Will we one day design and create molecules, cells and microorganisms that produce specific chemical products from simple, readily-available, inexpensive starting materials? Will the synthetic organic chemistry now used to produce pharmaceutical drugs, plastics and a host of other products eventually be surpassed by metabolic engineering as the mainstay of our chemical industries? Yes, according to Jay Keasling, chemical engineer.

In a paper published in the journal Science titled “Manufacturing molecules through metabolic engineering,” Keasling discusses the potential of metabolic engineering for the microbial production of many of the chemicals that are currently derived from non-renewable resources or limited natural resources. Examples include, among a great many other possibilities, the replacement of gasoline and other transportation fuels with clean, green, and renewable biofuels.

Read more

No comments: