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Production of Short Chain Fatty Acids from Bacteria

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Background: Increasing energy costs and environmental concerns have emphasized the need to produce sustainable renewable fuels. While microbial fermentation has been harnessed for producing ethanol and related alcohol biofuels biodiesel the major long chain fatty acid derived from plants has not yet reached the point where production by bacteria has become cost effective. Additionally slow cycle times for engineering oil seed metabolism and the excessive accumulation of glycerol as a byproduct are two major drawbacks of deriving biodiesel from plants. Technology Description: Researchers at Rice University have genetically engineered E. coli capable of producing high yields of short-chained fatty acids such as octanoic or dodecanoic acids. Similarly genetic manipulations to remove feedback inhibition mechanisms from the fatty acid synthesis pathway further boosts yields beyond those of current genetically engineered bacterial strains. Applications: 1) Biodiesel 2) Bioalcohols 3) Production of hydrocarbons fatty alcohols hydroxyl fatty acids and dicarboxylic acids fragances and dyes.


1) Increased production of short chain fatty acids. 2) Removal of feedback inhibition mechanisms in the fatty acid synthesis pathway. 3) This process can be used to produce fatty acids from renewable sources with higher productivity and yield. 4) This invention can potentially enable the efficient production of other products derived from free fatty acids and/or products that can be branched out from the fatty acid synthesis pathways.

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