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Isobutanol Production from Bioenergy Crops

Thaddeus Chukwuemeka Ezeji, Nasib Qureshi, Victor Ujor
Bioenergy Research - Advances and Applications 2014 pp. 109-118
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, carbon monoxide, cell culture, culture media, energy content, energy crops, fermentation, flammability, gasoline, hydrogenation, hygroscopicity, metabolic engineering, octane, propylene, toxicity, valine
Isobutanol has particularly received strong attention due to its attributes as a potential fuel, such as relatively high energy content, diminished flammability and hygroscopicity, high octane value, and compatibility with gasoline. Whereas isobutanol is produced industrially via carbonylation (incorporation of carbon monoxide into organic/inorganic compounds) of propylene or hydrogenation of isobutyraldehyde using an enclosed continuous reactor, isobutanol is naturally produced in negligible amounts by Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a degradation product of valine. The key problems associated with the bioproduction of isobutanol are availability of cheap substrates, scanty availability of native producers, and isobutanol toxicity/inhibition of the producing microorganisms, resulting in a low isobutanol titer in the fermentation broth. This chapter, therefore, details the (1) biochemistry of isobutanol production; (2) metabolic engineering of producing microorganisms for efficient isobutanol production; (3) feasibility of using bioenergy crops for isobutanol production; and (4) potential advanced technologies for integrated isobutanol production and recovery.