Bioengineering: Yeast makes diesel-like fuels

Engineering Yarrowia lipolytica as a platform for synthesis of drop-in transportation fuels and oleochemicals

Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA http://doi.org/bqn8 published ahead of print September 12(2016)

A yeast has been engineered to produce industrially important oils, including some similar to diesel.

Gregory Stephanopoulos and his colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge rewired key metabolic pathways and tweaked the structure and expression of certain enzymes in the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. This allowed the organism to convert low-value carbon compounds into fatty molecules similar to transport fuels and other chemicals that are used in various industries.

Some diesel-like fuels were produced at higher concentrations than similar approaches have achieved, taking the yeast ‘refineries’ a step closer to cost-efficient industrial applications, the authors say.

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