Biofuels and Bioproducts

In the Biofuels and Bioproducts division, researchers are discovering and developing new pathways, engineering microbes to transform sugars and lignins into energy-rich biofuels and valuable bioproducts. JBEI’s pioneering work in synthetic biology has enabled microbes to produce a variety of molecules from these lignocellulosic biomass that can serve as jet, diesel, and gasoline blendstocks and bioproducts.

Five year Research Objectives

  • Establish a broad platform to optimize and select pathways to diverse biofuels and bioproducts
  • Develop microbial hosts to maximize utilization of biomass components
  • High-throughput and predictive tools to systematically increase TRY and enhance scale-up 

To  achieve these goals, we will:

  • Develop and optimize metabolic pathways for biofuels and bioproducts production
  • Optimize host organisms to utilize all biomass sugars and aromatics, and efficiently convert them to fuels and bioproducts
  • Develop synthetic biology and systems biology tools for engineering biology
  • Develop computational methods to model microbial metabolism through genome scale models, flux-based mechanistic models and machine learning
  • Using chemical catalysis to enhance biological conversion

Researchers in JBEI’s Biofuels and Bioproducts Division are engineering various strains including Pseudomonas putida, fungal strains, and other bacteria to efficiently convert the sugars and aromatics derived from lignocellulosic biomass into biofuels and bioproducts. They are using the latest, most advanced tools of biotechnology including synthetic biology, systems biology, metabolic engineering and metabolic modeling to engineer new biochemical pathways for the production of fuel molecules and chemicals that are currently derived from petroleum. The goal is to produce fuels and other valuable chemical products from simple, inexpensive and renewable starting materials in a sustainable manner.