Cell membrane engineering as a novel target for the improvement of microbial strains for biofuels production: investigating the relationship between membrane constituents and membrane permeability

In the prospect of a bio-based economy, the use of biomass as source of hydrocarbons relies on the development of bio- processes for the production of fuels and chemicals. Regardless of the product, robust microorganisms are a prerequisite for the feasibility of lignocellulose bioconversion, where microorganisms are facing tremendous challenges including high concentrations of fermentation inhibiting molecules, such as organic acids and phenolic compounds. In the proposed project we will engineer the yeast cell membrane to reduce its permeability to lignocellulose-derived inhibitors, with acetic acid as case-study, with the final goal of obtaining more robust strains with reduced permeability to inhibitory compounds. Membrane simulations will be used to predict the effect on the physico chemical properties of S. cerevisiae membrane in which alternative lipids species, known to confer rigidity and reduce permeability are incorporated. These results will guide metabolic engineering strategies to engineer novel strains containing the most promising lipid species. The new strains will be characterised for their tolerance and membrane permeability to organic acids and possibly other inhibitors and this will be correlated to their novel membrane composition.

Participants

Lisbeth Olsson (contact)

Professor vid Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Maurizio Bettiga

Gästforskare vid Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Jeroen Maertens

Doktor vid Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Collaborations

University of Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden

Funding

Swedish Energy Agency

Funding Chalmers participation during 2017–2020 with 3,978,020.00 SEK

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces

Chalmers Infrastructure for Mass spectrometry

Infrastructure

Energy

Areas of Advance

Basic sciences

Roots

Life Science Engineering

Areas of Advance

More information

Latest update

2018-04-03