How the UK is Engineering Bacteria to produce Propane for Greener Fuels

04/05/2016 - 3 minutes

Researchers from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology are working in engineering a microbe capable of producing propane – an increasingly important fuel.

manchester_institute_biotechnology_biobased_propanePropane 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,

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