Expanded raw material base for biotechnological production - use of C1 carbon sources

Bild Forschungsprojekt
Period:  05.04.2010 - 05.04.2013
Funder:  KSB foundation
Research Group:  Biochemical Engineering

In biotechnology the natural substrates of enzymes and microorganisms are carbohydrates made by e.g. plants and thus renewable resources. The forecast growth of biotechnological processes to produce a significant amount of fuels and a variety of chemicals in the future also raises the question for alternative resources in biotechnology. In this proposal a possible turnaround to end the historically grown dependence of biotechnology on sugar as main nutrient is delineated. Methane or methanol will be used as alternative carbon sources in a biotechnological approach and thus present an attractive route to circumvent sugar-based fermentations.

The central part of this proposal is the usage of a methylotroph (methanol consuming) micoorganism. By means of genetic engineering the bacterium Methylobacterium extorquens will be modified with regard to its potential as producer of valuables and as consumer of alternative resources. Concerning the product side it is planned to modify the endogenous carotenoid biosynthesis pathway to synthesize zeaxanthin. Here, the natural carbon source of M. extorquens, methanol, which can be synthesised out of CO2, will be used. On the substrate side the organism will be modified such that it can use methane as alternative carbon source.

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