Accelerating Synthetic Biology Approaches to Renewable Chemicals and Fuels

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


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Description Brazil leads the world in terms of their expertise and facilities to bring about the large scale conversion of sugar (from sugar cane) into first generation bioethanol using yeasts. In recent years, however, there has been an increasing desire both to produce second generation ethanol as well as to expand product streams to higher value chemicals. This has led, in part, to an expansion of interests outside of the traditional yeast chassis and the consideration of alternative microbial chassis. These emerging objectives are best met through the implementation of Synthetic Biology approaches to chassis improvement and development. This is an area of science in which the UK is stronger, as its expertise is in a more diverse collection of microbial chassis, particularly Geobacillus and Clostridium. In the current proposal we intend to combine the activities of Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE) and the Universities of Campinas and Sao Paulo, with a the UK University of Nottingham (a BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre), and the University of Bath (leader of the BBSRC Network in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBB) "Plants to Products". Through this amalgamation of complementary skills and expertise will emerge Brazil-UK partnerships able to bid to funding councils (eg., BBSRC, FAPESP, HORIZON 2020) for transnational projects aimed at developing new processes for making chemicals and fuels from biomass.

To push the partnership forward, two independent bids from the partnership have been made to the joint BBSRC-FAPESP call on advanced biofuels which closed on 25 November 2015. An exchange of students over the next couple of years is also planned.
Exploitation Route The award helped facilitate bids to a joint investment call between the BBSRC and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to support collaborations between UK and Brazilian scientists in advanced biofuels research. A bid from Professor David Leak, University of Bath, working with Professor Telma Franco, Unicamp entitled "An integrated approach to explore a novel paradigm for biofuel production from lignocellulosic feedstocks", was successful.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description to early in the award for findings to have been used
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Chemicals,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

Description 16- FAPESP-BE
Amount £1,491,026 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/P017460/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2021