EBI Personnel Directory Sandy, Moriah
Bacterial volatiles represent a source for new biofuel compounds in addition to the traditional bioethanol and plant oil-derived biodiesel. The identified relevant volatile compounds include various short- to mediun-chain alkanes, alkenes, alcohols and isoprenoids, which have great potential to replace or supplement petroleum-derived fuels. For example, butanol, isopentanol, undecene and undecane are routinely observed in Pseudomonas cultures. l-Undecene is particularly intriguing attributed to its superior physical properties, which may have direct applications as both a fuel and an industrial chemical. However, little is known about the enzymatic logic for biosynthesis of many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by various bacterial cultures.
In order to develop more sustainable and economically feasible biofuels, it is important to fully characterize the enzymatic mechanisms of biosynthesis and secretion of these hydrocarbons, as well as engineering their heterologous productions with increased yield and efficiency in preferred hosts. The goal of this project is to understand the biosynthetic machinery and to engineer the biosynthesis of l-undecene and related fuel-like molecules. The results will expand our molecular toolbox for hydrocarbon biosynthesis, and facilitate the production of new microbial fuels.