Carbon-conserving microbial production of 1-hexanol from bio-based feedstocks

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2016-33610-25671
Agency Tracking Number: 2016-03988
Amount: $600,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.8
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-09-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-08-31
Small Business Information
473 & 473D TAN HALL, Berkeley, CA, 94720-0000
DUNS: 080224054
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jon Kuchenreuther
 Chief Scientific Officer (CSO)
 (650) 521-7961
 jon@zymochem.com
Business Contact
 Jon Kuchenreuther
Title: Chief Scientific Officer (CSO)
Phone: (650) 521-7961
Email: jon@zymochem.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
1-Hexanol has a global market size of ~200,000 MT/yr, wherein this alcohol is used as an endproduct or as an intermediate in producing other industrial chemicals with applications in the plastics, textile, perfume, and chemicals industries. 1-Hexanol is commercially produced from petrochemicalsvia processes the require substantial energy inputs, use toxic gases, and waste that is difficult to dispose of. Suffice to say, current approaches for making 1-hexanol are neither sustainable nor environmentally friendly.Microbial processes are a promising,sustainable alternative to petroleum-based approaches for making chemicals such as 1-hexanol. However, most of today's processes for the biological production of chemicals are simply not as carbon efficient. These inefficiencies are namely due to theto loss of ~33% of the sugar's carbon as carbon dioxide waste(CO2), which causes an increase in production costs and results in bioprocesses that are economically disadvantaged- arguably the most crucial factor for commercializing technology to produce chemicals. Thus, there is a clear need within the chemicals industry to develop bio-based renewable processes with improved yields, better economics, smaller environmental footprints, and greater sustainability than existing petroleum-based processes.We are developing a platform of enzyme-based pathways for converting renewable feedstocks such as corn-stover & woody biomass into chemicals, where essentially noneof the sugar's carbon is lost as CO2. Our"carbon-conserving" (C2) pathwaysenable microbes to make chemicals like 1-hexanol with improved theoretical yieldsand more economically compared to state-of-the-art approaches. During the previous Phase I project, we confirmedthe technical feasibility of our novel enzyme-based C2 pathway. In Phase II, we aim to integrate this C2 pathway into an engineered & optimizedindustrially-relevant microorganism with a robustability to produce1-hexanol from sugars, which will allow us to transition to larger scales for developing the entire bio-based processto make 1-hexanol.The commercialization of our C2 technology for producing1-hexanol will have several broad-reaching benefits such as alleviating dependence on foreign oil, decreasing adverse environmental consequences of current processes, and promoting sustainable manufacturing. Successful completion of our project will also provide a new foundation for sustainable industrial chemicals as well as diversify the use of agricultural and forest feedstocks. Doing so will create new markets for agricultural and rural businesses, thereby expanding economic opportunities and creating jobs in the renewable energy/chemicals sector.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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