Breakthrough research could pave way to renewable biosynthesis of propane

Breakthrough research could pave way to renewable biosynthesis of propane

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Biosynthesis of propane (Credit: Manchester University Institute of Biotechnology)
According to a research study published in the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels, University of Manchester researchers made a significant breakthrough in the development of synthetic pathways that will enable renewable biosynthesis of propane. Researchers at the University’s Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), along with colleagues at Imperial College London and University of Turku, created a synthetic pathway for biosynthesis of  propane gas. Although natural metabolic pathways for the renewable biosynthesis of propane do not exist, scientists at the University developed an alternative microbial biosynthetic pathway to produce renewable propane. The team led by Nigel Scrutton and Dr Patrik Jones from Imperial College, modified existing fermentative butanol pathways using an engineered enzyme variant to redirect the microbial pathway to produce propane as opposed to butanol. They achieved propane biosynthesis, creating a platform for next-generation microbial propane production. Their work would take scientists one step closer to the commercial production of renewable propane, a vital development as fossil fuels continue to dwindle.