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Production of Methylketones in Plants and Bacteria

Background: The chemicals industry in the US produces more than 300 billion pounds of product per year and accounts for annual revenues of $500 billion of which 45% is attributed to commodity chemicals. Despite the large current output the current industry relies heavily on non-renewable stocks and as such current efforts are focused on the transition of the industrial chemical industry from petroleum- to renewable resource-based commerce. One approach is to exploit bio- and chemical catalytic technologies to efficiently produce biorenewable platform chemicals. By incorporating key biocatalysts involved in metabolic processes in microbial host systems a range of polyketide-based platform chemicals can be produced which can then be converted via chemical catalytic means to final material of choice. With this approach production of a broad array of biorenewable chemicals such as dienes alpha-olefins and diacids is expected. Technology Description: Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified and isolated a series of genes from plants that encode a new class of enzymes methylketone synthases. These enzymes are central in the biosynthesis of methylketones from intermediates of the fatty acid biosynthetic pathway. Methylketones can vary in carbon chain lengths and serve as general platform chemicals or starting materials which can be subsequently processed to yield a variety of end products. Expression of these genes can be induced in E. Coli expression systems and result in production of several methylketones including those of 15 carbon chain length as well as shorter ones. Production of methylketones using these genes in other microbial systems and subsequent scale-up will follow. Applications: Production of platform industrial chemicals


1) Sustainable production based on renewable-nl-resource 2) Production of various methylketones possible-nl-depending on enzyme used

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