Bioenergy researchers are interested in harnessing microbes to produce alcohols for fuel use because these cells are relatively easy to grow and study. The bacteria Escherichia coli and Corynebacterium glutamucum, both of which have been used to produce alcohols, have already been sequenced and had their genomes annotated. For this project, mutants of E. coli and C. glutamucum will be sequenced to find out how to boost alcohol production in these bacteria for bioenergy use.
Previous work with E. coli has shown that the bacterium can produce alcohols with five-carbon atoms. Further study of the bacterium’s mutants could lead to the production of even more complex, longer-chain alcohols that can hold more energy. Researchers are also interested in learning more about C. glutamucum’s thick cell envelope and its ability to protect the bacterium from stressors, which would also be useful in developing mutants that have higher yields of alcohols. By sequencing these mutants, researchers hope not only to learn more about increasing biofuel yields in microbes but also the process of sequencing for reverse metabolic engineering.
Principal Investigators: James Liao, University of California, Los Angeles
Program: CSP 2010