Biofuels Pathways

Researchers in the Biofuels Pathways Group discover naturally occurring enzymes that, when integrated with metabolic pathways for biofuel precursors (such as fatty acids), enable engineered microbes to synthesize advanced biofuels. A genome-enabled approach is used to study both pure bacterial cultures and natural microbial communities known to produce the biofuels of interest. In addition to mining existing pathways from nature, researchers in the Biofuels Pathways Group create new pathways by assembling combinations of known genes into non-native pathways to produce fuels optimized for a particular application.

Selected Projects

  • Discovery of novel toluene synthase (phenylacetate decarboxylase) from microbial community, which will enable first-time biochemical synthesis of toluene from glucose
  • Development and optimization of pathways for diesel-range methyl ketone biosynthesis in E. coli
  • Identification of enzymes involved in biosynthesis of ladderane fatty acids by anammox bacteria

Featured Media

JBEI Expert Harry Beller discusses the production of methyl ketones 

JBEI featured on Chemical & Engineering News

Harry Beller, Director of Biofuels Pathways was one of the interviewees of Chemical & Engineering News cover story about JBEI.


Sweet Smell of Success

JBEI Researchers Boost Methyl Ketone Production in E. coli


A Fragrant New Biofuel

JBEI Researchers Develop a New Candidate for a Cleaner, Greener and Renewable Diesel Fuel


Enzyme Trio for Biosynthesis of Hydrocarbon Fuels


Featured Publications

Featured Intellectual Property