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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Bioenergy Research » Research » Research Project #436785

Research Project: Develop Technologies for Production of Platform Chemicals and Advanced Biofuels from Lignocellulosic Feedstocks

Location: Bioenergy Research

Project Number: 5010-41000-178-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 25, 2019
End Date: Sep 16, 2020

Objective 1. Develop platform yeast technology to enable commercial conversion of lignocellulose-derived xylose to chemicals such as triacetic acid lactone (4- hydroxy-6-methyl-2-pyrone). Sub-objective 1.A. Develop an expanded xylose inducible expression system with various expression levels for tunable control of gene expression in Saccharomyces yeasts. Sub-objective 1.B. Generate a xylose-specific transporter that is not significantly inhibited by glucose. Sub-objective 1.C. Engineer industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains to produce triacetic acid lactone from xylose. Objective 2. Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of itaconic acid (methylene succinic acid) from all the carbohydrates in lignocellulosic feedstocks. Sub-objective 2.A. Screen Aspergillus terreus strains for itaconic acid production from xylose and arabinose. Sub-objective 2.B. Adapt the best performing itaconic acid producing A. terreus strain to (i) dilute acid pretreated wheat straw hydrolyzate for inhibitor tolerance and (ii) high concentrations of itaconic acid for itaconic acid tolerance. Sub-objective 2.C. Optimize process parameters for batch production of itaconic acid from dilute acid pretreated wheat straw hydrolyzate by (i) separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF) and (ii) simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF). Sub-objective 2.D. Demonstrate the batch itaconic acid production from wheat straw at a pilot scale (100 L). Objective 3. Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of xylitol from lignocellulosic hydrolyzates. Sub-objective 3.A. Optimize xylitol production by Coniochaeta ligniaria C8100, a fungal strain that produces xylitol from xylose but does not grow on xylose. Sub-objective 3.B. Clone and express heterologous xylose reductase in C. ligniaria C8100. Objective 4. Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of butanol from sweet sorghum bagasse. Sub-objective 4.A. Develop efficient pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification processes for generation of fermentable sugars from sweet sorghum bagasse. Sub-objective 4.B. Integrate enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation and product recovery schemes for conversion of pretreated sweet sorghum bagasse to butanol. Sub-objective 4.C. Evaluate process economics of butanol production from sweet sorghum bagasse.

Hypothesis 1.A. Expressing xylose metabolism genes from tunable xylose-inducible expression modules will improve yield and productivity from both glucose and xylose. Hypothesis 1.B. Enhanced co-utilization of xylose and glucose will increase the xylose utilization rate. Goal 1.C. Integrate the genes required for triacetic acid lactone (TAL) production from xylose into an industrial S. erevisiae strain and produce TAL from lignocellulosic feedstocks. Goal 2.A. Through screening of Aspergillus terreus strains from varied sources, identify a strain that effectively produces itaconic acid from all sugars typically present in a lignocellulosic hydrolyzate. Goal 2.B. Determine if the mixed sugar utilizing and itaconic acid (IA) producing A. terreus strain will be able to tolerate the common fermentation inhibitors typically present in dilute acid hydrolyzates of lignocellulosic feedstock and high concentrations of IA through adaptive evolution. Goal 2.C. Develop efficient SHF or SSF process for itaconic acid production from pretreated lignocellulosic feedstocks. Goal 2.D. Scale up the itaconic acid product. Goal 3.A. Optimize xylitol production from hemicellulosic hydrolyzates by the inhibitor-tolerant fungus C. ligniaria C8100. Hypothesis 3.B. Increasing xylose reductase activity in C. ligniaria strain 8100 will enhance xylitol production from xylose by the recombinant fungal strain. Goal 4.A. Develop an optimized process of sweet sorghum bagasse pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis to release sugars that are efficiently fermented to butanol by Clostridium beijerinckii P260. Goal 4.B. Develop an integrated process for butanol production from pretreated sweet sorghum bagasse by combining enzymatic saccharification, fermentation, and product recovery. Goal 4.C. Perform economic analysis of conversion of sweet sorghum bagasse to butanol.