APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Renewable fuels
- Flavors, fragrances, and cosmetics
- Consolidated, bio-based route eliminates multiple synthetic steps and purifications
- Utilizes readily available reagents to reduce production costs
- Enables production of a wide variety of alkyl lactones from a single renewable feedstock
A team of researchers led by Jay Keasling at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has developed a process for the enzymatic activation and cyclization of hydroxyl fatty acids for the production of alkyl lactones in engineered recombinant host cells.
To form the lactones, a multi-step process is employed using fatty acid converting enzymes and esterases to convert the hydroxyl fatty acids through an intermediate to the lactone. The enzymatic activities in this reaction scheme have not been previously described to operate in native in vivo environments, establishing a novel biosynthetic pathway for alkyl lactone formation.
Current approaches to produce alkyl lactones through the use of toxic or expensive reagents such as Halfnium and Ruthenium-based compounds. The JBEI method instead uses readily available, nontoxic reagents to consolidate alkyl lactone formation and greatly reduce production costs. This method also allows for the production of a wide variety of alkyl lactones with a single renewable feedstock, while current methods rely on different petrochemical feedstocks for each target lactone.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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