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Microbial Production of Organic Acids and Hydrocarbons from One-Carbon Substrates

Background: Hydrocarbons are among the most broadly used organic compounds and have been a driving force of industrialized nations. As products of petroleum refining the production of such hydrocarbons contributes significantly to environmental degradation thus warranting the need for environmentally responsible sources for these hydrocarbons. Similarly with limited and dwindling petroleum resources alternative sources of hydrocarbons continue to increase in demand. Technology Description: The present invention is a method of microbial conversion of one-carbon substrates such as methane methanol formate carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to useful chemicals and fuels. Conversion of one-carbon sources can yield organic acids of chain length C4-6 and C6-10 hydrocarbons. As one-carbon substrates are abundant in nature this approach provides an excellent and inexpensive source of carbon for biofuel and organic compound production. Applications: With steady growth in the upcoming years the global biofuel market is expected to double from $82.7 billion in 2011 to $185.3 billion in 2021. Global markets for biofuel are entering a period of rapid growth and concerns for over feedstock availability are on the rise. This invention would improve upon current efficiency levels of biofuel production without the need for new feedstock sources while utilizing a readily available byproduct from current industrial and manufacturing processes. This technology is both economically feasible and environmentally responsible.


1) Conservation of redox and formation of ATP allows robust cell performance 2) Use of methanol as substrate provides reductant for formation of longer chain length acids 3) Ability to use carbon dioxide as an inexpensive source of carbon 4) Byproducts of hydrogen and carbon-dioxide can be recycled back into system

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