Office of Research, UC Riverside
Ian Wheeldon
Associate Professor
Chemical/Environ. Engineering
wheeldon@ucr.edu
(951) 827-2471


Collaborative: SusChem: Intracellular localization of biosynthetic pathways for conversion of lipids to dicarboxylic acids in oleaginous yeast

AWARD NUMBER
006762-003
FUND NUMBER
21255
STATUS
Closed
AWARD TYPE
3-Grant
AWARD EXECUTION DATE
5/12/2014
BEGIN DATE
7/1/2014
END DATE
6/30/2017
AWARD AMOUNT
$24,000

Sponsor Information

SPONSOR AWARD NUMBER
CBET-1403264
SPONSOR
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
SPONSOR TYPE
Federal
FUNCTION
Organized Research
PROGRAM NAME

Proposal Information

PROPOSAL NUMBER
14040291
PROPOSAL TYPE
New
ACTIVITY TYPE
Basic Research

PI Information

PI
Wheeldon, Ian
PI TITLE
Other
PI DEPTARTMENT
Chemical/Environ. Engineering
PI COLLEGE/SCHOOL
Bourns College of Engineering
CO PIs

Project Information

ABSTRACT

1403264/1403099
Wheeldon/Blenner

This collaborative project aims to develop an advanced bio-manufacturing process to convert low cost feedstocks such as waste glycerol or biomass-derived sugars into important precursors for specialty polymers, adhesives, anti-corrosive coatings, and fragrances. Currently these molecules, long chain dicarboxylic acids, are produced from non-renewable, petroleum feedstocks in processes that suffer from poor catalysis and inherent safety concerns. This project contributes towards NSF's mission of advancing national heath, prosperity, and welfare by creating an inherently safe biochemical process that operates at low temperature and pressures, is efficient in the conversion of low cost feedstocks into high value products, and creates new sustainable bio-manufacturing technologies. In addition to the scientific and engineering goals of this project, educational outreach activities will connect graduate, undergraduate, and community college students in Riverside County, CA with students in South Carolina. The educational outreach efforts aim to increase participation of STEM students in advanced bio- and sustainable-manufacturing research, thus addressing critical needs in both South Carolina and Riverside County, CA for well-trained STEM workforces.

The process exploits the natural abilities of certain yeast species, such as the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, to metabolize glycerol and sugars, and produce high yields of long chain fatty acids. The innovative technologies developed in this project will allow for coordinated reactions to occur inside active yeast cells to efficiently convert the naturally produced long chain fatty acids into dicarboxylic acids. These technologies include synthetic biology tools that enable the temporal control of gene expression and the spatial and temporal control of biosynthetic pathway activity. The central hypothesis is that the catalysis and yield of biosynthetic pathways for the oxidation of free fatty acids can be enhanced by co-localizing oxidative enzymes with the lipid mobilization machinery.
The hypothesis was formulated based on experimental and theoretical results that demonstrate enhanced yields of engineered biosynthetic pathways via enzyme co-localization and via intracellular pathway localization. Moreover, the development and implementation of gene regulatory elements sensitive to the fatty acid substrates of the engineered pathway will enable tunable pathway expression and optimization of pathway flux. The developed biochemical process focuses on the production of long chain dicarboxylic acids, but it is anticipated that the innovative synthetic biology tools needed to successfully create the process will be broadly applicable to other biochemical processes for the conversion of lipids into other useful chemicals such as advanced biofuels, short chain dicarboxlyic acids, and food additives.

This award by the Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering Program of the CBET Division is co-funded by the Instrument Development for Biological Research Program of the Division of Biological Infrastructure.
(Abstract from NSF)