International Sugar Journal

Decrypting the mechanism of a key photoenzyme opens up new avenue for biofuels and chemicals production [Full subscriber]

Although many organisms capture and respond to sunlight, enzymes – proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions – are rarely driven by light. Scientists have identified only three types of natural photoenzymes so far. The newest one, discovered in 2017, is fatty acid photodecarboxylase (FAP). Derived from microscopic algae, it uses blue light to catalyze the conversion of fatty acids, found in fats and oils, into alkanes and alkenes.

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Cargill and Virent partner to elicit the potential of BioForming technology for the production of drop-in fuels and chemicals [Full subscriber]

Cargill and Virent, Inc. are partnering to evaluate the use of Cargill’s corn dextrose as a feedstock to Virent’s BioForming technology for the production of “drop-in” low-carbon biofuels and biochemicals.

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Pine needles from Christmas trees turned into valuable products [Registered]

A chemical engineer at the University of Sheffield has found that useful products (e.g. paint and sweeteners) can be made from the chemicals extracted from pine needles of Christmas trees when processed.

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Converting lignin into plastics in one-step process [Registered]

Untangling the complex chains of lignin polymers into components, which can be useful plastics, has presented an ongoing challenge to science and industry. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have devised a new method to process lignin into useful components.

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Plasma catalysis process facilitates conversion of CO2 and CH4 into fuels and chemicals [Registered]

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have made a significant breakthrough in the direct conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) into liquid fuels and chemicals.

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Gen3Bio’s process produces chemicals from microalgae [Registered]

The biotech start-up Gen3Bio is developing a novel process that could more effectively and affordably transform microalgae into chemicals.

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Industrial biomanufacturing of chemicals needn’t be large scale [Registered]

Producing mass quantities of chemicals has its roots in the industrial revolution. But industrial synthesis leads to sizeable sustainability and socioeconomic challenges. The rapid advances in biotechnology suggest that biological manufacturing on a small scale may soon be a feasible alternative, says Rice University Professor Ramon Gonzalez and his researchers in a review1 published in Science.

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Amyris partners with Queensland to produce biobased products for the SE Asian market [Registered]

The US biotech start-up recently announce that it is partnering with Queensland state, Australia to produced biobased products for the rapidly-growing personal care sector in Asia, sourcing sugarcane industry for the feedstock.

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Nitrogenase effective in converting carbon dioxide into biofuels [Registered]

University of California, Irvine molecular biologists have discovered an effective way to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO) that can be adapted for commercial applications like biofuel synthesis.

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Optimizing photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide into useful products [Registered]

Biological carbon fixation requires several enzymes to turn CO2 into biomass. Although this pathway evolved in plants, algae, and microorganisms over billions of years, many reactions and enzymes could aid in the production of desired chemical products instead of biomass. A team of researchers from Germany and Switzerland have developed a synthetic pathway to “fix” carbon dioxide – converting it into organic compounds – more quickly than can be achieved by plants.

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