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Production of Odd Chain Fatty Acids in Bacteria

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Background: Increasing energy costs and environmental concerns have emphasized the need to produce sustainable renewable fuels and chemicals. Fatty acids are composed of long alkyl chains and used by cells for chemical and energy storage functions. They represent nature’s “petroleum” and can be isolated from plant and animal oils for the production of fuels and oleochemicals. Biosynthesis of fatty acids in bacteria is tightly regulated at multiple levels limiting the quantity that can be made by bacteria and thus making this production route expensive. Similarly existing engineered E. coli strains produce high levels of even chain fatty acids rather than odd chain. Technology Description: Researchers at Rice University have genetically engineered microorganisms capable of producing high yields of odd chained fatty acids. By the manipulation of selected genes from the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway fatty acid productivity and yield of odd chained fatty acids has been increased significantly and cost-effectively. Utilizing these genetic modifications >80% of the fatty acids produced by these genetic strains are of odd chain lengths. Applications: 1) Biodiesel 2) Fuel in vehicles 3) Generating electricity 4) Bioheating systems for buildings


1) Produces short medium and long chain of odd chain fatty acids. 2) Increased intracellular propionyl-CoA 3) This process can be used to produce fatty acids from renewable sources with higher productivity and yield.

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