Improving Biobutanol production by solventogenic clostridia

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Molecular Medical Sciences


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.
Description Our partnership award initiated in September 2009 with a 3-day workshop at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences (SIBS). The workshop was attended by UK delegates from the Universities of Nottingham, Aberystwyth and Heriot Watt and from the UK biobutanol company, Green Biologics Ltd. In addition to those attendees from various departments within SIBS, Chinese delegates were also drawn from the Universities of Jiangnan, Qinghua and Zhejiang, as well as the CAS Institute of Microbiology, Beijing.

Following the workshop, an action plan was formulated in which a series of exchanges between the UK and China were formulated. Dr Yang Gu visited the UK in 2011 and 2012, where he undertook experiments to formulate and exemplify a novel transposon mutagenesis system based on an inducible xylose promoter, which was successfully used to generate random mutants in Clostridium acetobutylicum. In addition, collaborative studies on xylose utilisation in C. acetobutylicum were undertaken with Heriot Watt University. Visits were also made by 2 postdoctoral researchers from the UK during 2011 and 2012 in order to oversee technology transfer of key Nottingham gene technologies to SIBS. Progress over the course of the collaboration was then reviewed at a workshop in Shanghai in June 2013.
As a result of the collaboration a paper has been published describing studies of xylose metabolism in C. acetobutylicum, a major component of the deconstruction of plant hemicellulose, and therefore an important consideration in cellulosic butanol production. Two further papers are currently in preparation, describing the random transposon system and comparative genomics of UK and Chinese strains of C. acetobutylicum.
Exploitation Route Given the importance of xylose utilisation derived from plant biomass (hemicellulose) the findings made in terms of improving its utilisation have important implications in terms of second generation biofuel production. The data are likely to be translatable to other solventogenic clostridia. The work with the transposon, once published, should provide the scientific community with a generally useful tool for isolating mutants with improved process properties, either directly, or through the identification of important components, thorugh their subsequent manipulation.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description The partnership between the University of Nottingham and the Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences (SIBS) has gone from strength to strength over the four year period, building a strong union between the two institutes. Shortly after the partnership was formed, the SIBS partner became the Key Laboratory of Synthetic Biology in China, while in 2014 Nottingham became a BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) focussed on gas fermenting chassis. In this respect, the interests of the two organisations merged leading to the award of a second joint BBSRC/CAS partnership in Synthetic Biology focused on clostridial species able to utilise steel mill off-gas as a feedstock. As part of this process, SIBS became the host of Clostridium XIII, the premier international event focussed on the Genetics, Physiology and Synthetic Biology of Clostridium species. All of these measures have fostered a thriving partnership between China and the UK.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description BBSRC CHINA Partneship Award - Utilising Steel Mill 'Off-Gas' for Chemical Commodity Production using Synthetic Biology
Amount £31,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/L01081X/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2014 
End 12/2018