Engineers at Iowa State University have found a way to combine a genetically engineered strain of yeast and an electrocatalyst to efficiently convert sugar into a new type of nylon.
Previous attempts to combine biocatalysis and chemical catalysis to produce biorenewable chemicals have resulted in low conversion rates. That’s usually because the biological processes leave residual impurities that harm the effectiveness of chemical catalysts.
The engineers’ successful hybrid conversion process is described online and as the cover paper of the Feb. 12 issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
“The ideal biorefinery pipelines, from biomass to the final products, are currently disrupted by a gap between biological conversion and chemical diversification. We herein report a strategy to bridge this gap with a hybrid fermentation and electrocatalytic process,” wrote lead authors Zengyi Shao and Jean-Philippe Tessonnier, Iowa State assistant professors of chemical and biological engineering who are also affiliated with the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) based at Iowa State.
The process described by the engineers “opens the door to the production of a broad range of compounds not accessible from the petrochemical industry,” Shao said.
Moving forward, the engineers will work to scale up their technology by developing a continuous conversion process, said Tessonnier, who’s a Carol and Jack Johnson Faculty Fellow and also an associate scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.
The engineers’ research was supported by CBiRC, the National Science Foundation, Iowa State’s Plant Sciences Institute and the Ames Laboratory.
Here’s how their technology works:
Shao’s research group has created genetically engineered yeast – “a microbial factory,” she said – that ferments glucose into muconic acid. By applying metabolic engineering strategies, the group also significantly improved the yield of the acid. Then, without any purification, Tessonnier’s group introduced a metal catalyst – lead – into the mixture and applied a small voltage to convert the acid. The resulting reaction adds hydrogen to the mix and produces 3-hexenedioic acid.
After simple separation and polymerization, the engineers produced biobased, unsaturated nylon-6,6, which has the advantage of an extra double bond in its backbone that can be used to tailor the polymer’s properties.
The engineers say the hybrid conversion technology offers many advantages: The reaction is performed at room temperature, it uses a cheap and abundant metal instead of precious elements such as palladium or platinum, and the other compounds involved in the reaction are produced from water.
“We gave it a try and it worked immediately,” Tessonnier said. “The process does not need additional chemical supplement, and it works amazingly at ambient temperature and pressure, which is very rare for this type of process.”
Shao and Tessonnier started talking about working together while car-pooling from a research meeting two hours from campus.
The Latest on: Biorenewable chemicals
via Google News
The Latest on: Biorenewable chemicals
- ISU to eliminate coal usage on campus, and cut a biorenewables graduate programon April 7, 2021 at 1:10 pm
The university projects it would cost $16 million to convert two remaining coal-fired boilers to natural gas by 2025, reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions by 35%.
- Greening of an Industry: For injection and blowmolding, packaging may not be first volume market for bioplasticson March 30, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Packaging, the market many assumed would most readily adopt plastics based on biorenewable materials ... Howard Rappaport, global practice leader, thermoplastics, at Chemical Market Associates Inc.
- Master plan to help industry diversifyon March 25, 2021 at 3:08 pm
This can also include biorenewable plastics, biodegradable plastics, packaging and cogeneration. “Ethanol and bioelectricity both present ideal growth opportunities for us. We already produce ...
- David H Kwan, PhDon February 14, 2021 at 7:43 am
We also aim to establish, using synthetic biology, new methods for producing biorenewable hydrocarbons as alternatives ... structure-guided directed evolution”Journal of the American Chemical Society, ...
- Chemoinformatics research groupon August 16, 2020 at 3:30 am
The repository uses semantic web technologies to store data about biorenewable feedstocks and their chemical components together with chemical reactions which are commonly used to convert feedstocks ...
- ESF Course Descriptionson March 3, 2019 at 1:33 am
Specialized topics in chemistry, chemical engineering and physics as well as topics ... Three credit-hour advanced science course through the topics in the production and properties of biorenewable ...
- ESF Course Descriptionson December 16, 2018 at 2:11 am
and chemical engineering field. Spring and/or Fall. Note: Credit will not be granted for both PSE 437 and PSE 637. Students registered for this course will be charged a non-refundable $60 course fee.
- Convergence Exemplarson April 14, 2017 at 9:25 am
 The Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, CBiRC , was established in 2008 as an NSF Engineering Research Center at Iowa State University. (CBiRC) is developing the tools, components and materials ...
- NSF Launches Third Generation of Engineering Research Centers with Awards Totaling $92.5 Millionon January 29, 2017 at 10:50 am
Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer. CIAN Director Nasser Peyghambarian (left) and ...
- A golden futureon October 1, 2009 at 5:00 am
In particular it catalyses alkene epoxidation and alcohol oxidation, including the oxidation of biorenewable feedstocks ... the manufacture of this commodity chemical. At times it is now tempting ...
via Bing News