AFINGEN received $225k Phase I grant from DOE SBIR FY2015 Program for Biomanufacturing System Development
March 1, 2015
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) recently developed a suite of synthetic biology tools, collectively called the Artificial Positive Feedback Loop (APFL), which enables the engineering of microorganisms to amplify specific metabolic pathways without deleterious effects to the overall health of the organism. Consequently, precursors to many isoprenoid derivatives leading to high energy density biofuel molecules could be produced by non-conventional yeasts. The target advanced biofuel compounds are produced from precursors derived from the well-known terpene-isoprenoid-ergosterol biosynthesis pathway. In addition to their utilization as flavors and fragrances, both target terpenes have great potential in renewable energy since they can be rapidly converted into biofuels after a simple biofuel conversion. Renewable biofuels and biofuel precursor products are fast growing markets and demand will keep rising for decades. Upon further demonstration of the APFL technology in engineered yeast strains, a large variety of yeasts can be engineered to biologically synthesize biofuels and specialty biofuel precursor compounds. Using non-conventional yeasts and the new synthetic biology tools, we expect to increase yields of target compounds by 50x or better.