Researchers from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology are working in engineering a microbe capable of producing propane – an increasingly important fuel.
Propane is an emerging fuel, used from heating to transport fuel. Therefore, producing it via synthetic biology has been a major target in the biofuel field to be Greener.
This is especially because biobased propane it’s a very good drop-in replacement of fossil fuels. So, it could use exactly the same infrastructures that exist now for propane sourced from petroleum.
However, there is a significant challenge – there are no natural metabolic pathways that produce propane. A team (from Imperial College London and the University of Turku) already had success in engineering a new propane-producing pathway.
Now in collaboration with the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, this work was built on to create an alternative pathway – that tackled previous limitations in the amount of propane bacteria could produce.
This alternative pathway required researchers to find an enzyme that could make propane,