Emeryville, CA, United States
Emeryville, CA, United States

The Joint BioEnergy Institute is a research institute funded by the Department of Energy of the United States. It is led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and includes participation from the Sandia National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as UC Berkeley, UC Davis and the Carnegie Institute. It is located in Emeryville, California.The goal of the Institute is to develop biofuels, bio-synthesized from cellulosic materials as an alternative to fossil fuels. Wikipedia.

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Ronald P.C.,University of California at Davis | Ronald P.C.,Joint BioEnergy Institute | Ronald P.C.,Kyung Hee University | Beutler B.,Scripps Research Institute
Science | Year: 2010

The last common ancestor of plants and animals may have lived 1 billion years ago. Plants and animals have occasionally exchanged genes but, for the most part, have countered selective pressures independently. Microbes (bacteria, eukaryotes, and viruses) were omnipresent threats, influencing the direction of multicellular evolution. Receptors that detect molecular signatures of infectious organisms mediate awareness of nonself and are integral to host defense in plants and animals alike. The discoveries leading to elucidation of these receptors and their ligands followed a similar logical and methodological pathway in both plant and animal research.

Ronald P.C.,University of California at Davis | Ronald P.C.,Joint BioEnergy Institute
PLoS Biology | Year: 2014

Over the last 300 years, plant science research has provided important knowledge and technologies for advancing the sustainability of agriculture. In this Essay, I describe how basic research advances have been translated into crop improvement, explore some lessons learned, and discuss the potential for current and future contribution of plant genetic improvement technologies to continue to enhance food security and agricultural sustainability. © 2014 Pamela C.

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 2.52M | Year: 2013

We currently make more than just fuel from petroleum refining. Many of the plastics, solvents and other products that are used in everyday life are derived from these non-renewable resources. Our research programme aims to replace many of the common materials used as plastics with alternatives created from plants. This will enable us to tie together the UKs desire to move to non-petroleum fuel sources (e.g. biofuels) with our ability to produce renewable polymers and related products. Plant cell walls are made up of two main components: carbohydrate polymers (long chains of sugars) and lignin, which is the glue holding plants together. We will first develop methods of separating these two components using sustainable solvents called ionic liquids. Ionic liquids are salts which are liquids at room temperature, enabling a variety of chemical transformations to be carried out under consitions not normally available to traditional organic solvents. These ionic liquids also reduce pollution as they have no vapours and can be made from non-toxic, non-petroleum based resources. We will take the isolated carbohydrate polymers and break them down into simple sugars using enzymes and then further convert those sugars into building blocks for plastics using a variety of novel catalytic materials specifically designed for this process. The lignin stream will also be broken down and rebuilt into new plastics that can replace common materials. All of these renewable polymers will be used in a wide range of consumer products, including packaging materials, plastic containers and construction materials. The chemical feedstocks that we are creating will be flexible (used for chemical, material and fuel synthesis), safe (these feedstocks are predominantly non-toxic) and sustainable (most of the developed products are biodegradable). This will help reduce the overall environmental impact of the material economy in the UK. The chemistry that we will use focusses on creating highly energy efficient and low-cost ways of making these materials without producing large amounts of waste. We are committed to only developing future manufacturing routes that are benign to the environment in which we all live. In addition, natural material sources often have properties that are superior to those created using artificial means. We plan to exploit these advantages of natural resources in order to produce both replacements for current products and new products with improved performance. This will make our synthetic routes both environmentally responsible and economically advantageous. The UK has an opportunity to take an international lead in this area due to the accumulation of expertise within this country. The overall goal of this project is to develop sustainable manufacturing routes that will stimulate new UK businesses and environmentally responsible means of making common, high value materials. We will bring together scientific experts in designing processes, manufacturing plastics, growing raw biomass resources and developing new chemistries. The flexibility of resources is vital to the success of this endeavour, as no single plant biomass can be used for manufacturing on a year-round basis. Together with experienced leaders of responsible manufacturing industries, we will develop new ways of making everyday materials in a sustainable and economically beneficial way. The result of this research will be a fundamental philosophical shift to our material, chemical, and energy economy. The technologies proposed in this work will help break our dependence on rapidly depleting fossil resources and enable us to become both sustainable and self-sufficient. This will result in greater security, less pollution, and a much more reliable and responsible UK economy.

Keasling J.D.,University of California at Berkeley | Keasling J.D.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Keasling J.D.,Joint BioEnergy Institute
Metabolic Engineering | Year: 2012

Synthetic biology can significantly advance metabolic engineering by contributing tools (minimal hosts, vectors, genetic controllers, characterized enzymes). The development of these tools significantly reduced the costs and time to develop the antimalarial drug artemisinin, but the availability of more tools could have reduced these costs substantially. © 2012 .

Mukhopadhyay A.,Joint BioEnergy Institute | Mukhopadhyay A.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Trends in Microbiology | Year: 2015

During microbial production of solvent-like compounds, such as advanced biofuels and bulk chemicals, accumulation of the final product can negatively impact the cultivation of the host microbe and limit the production levels. Consequently, improving solvent tolerance is becoming an essential aspect of engineering microbial production strains. Mechanisms ranging from chaperones to transcriptional factors have been used to obtain solvent-tolerant strains. However, alleviating growth inhibition does not invariably result in increased production. Transporters specifically have emerged as a powerful category of proteins that bestow tolerance and often improve production but are difficult targets for cellular expression. Here we review strain engineering, primarily as it pertains to bacterial solvent tolerance, and the benefits and challenges associated with the expression of membrane-localized transporters in improving solvent tolerance and production. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Rosengarten R.D.,Joint BioEnergy Institute | Nicotra M.L.,University of Pittsburgh
Current Biology | Year: 2011

Nearly all colonial marine invertebrates are capable of allorecognition - the ability to distinguish between self and genetically distinct members of the same species. When two or more colonies grow into contact, they either reject each other and compete for the contested space or fuse and form a single, chimeric colony. The specificity of this response is conferred by genetic systems that restrict fusion to self and close kin. Two selective pressures, intraspecific spatial competition between whole colonies and competition between stem cells for access to the germline in fused chimeras, are thought to drive the evolution of extensive polymorphism at invertebrate allorecognition loci. After decades of study, genes controlling allorecognition have been identified in two model systems, the protochordate Botryllus schlosseri and the cnidarian Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus. In both species, allorecognition specificity is determined by highly polymorphic cell-surface molecules, encoded by the fuhc and fester genes in Botryllus, and by the alr1 and alr2 genes in Hydractinia. Here we review allorecognition phenomena in both systems, summarizing recent molecular advances, comparing and contrasting the life history traits that shape the evolution of these distinct allorecognition systems, and highlighting questions that remain open in the field. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

Frederix M.,John Innes Center | Downie A.J.,Joint BioEnergy Institute
Advances in Microbial Physiology | Year: 2011

Many bacteria use 'quorum sensing' (QS) as a mechanism to regulate gene induction in a population-dependent manner. In its simplest sense this involves the accumulation of a signaling metabolite during growth; the binding of this metabolite to a regulator or multiple regulators activates induction or repression of gene expression. However QS regulation is seldom this simple, because other inputs are usually involved. In this review we have focussed on how those other inputs influence QS regulation and as implied by the title, this often occurs by environmental or physiological effects regulating the expression or activity of the QS regulators. The rationale of this review is to briefly introduce the main QS signals used in Gram-negative bacteria and then introduce one of the earliest understood mechanisms of regulation of the regulator, namely the plant-mediated control of expression of the TraR QS regulator in Agrobacterium tumefaciens. We then describe how in several species, multiple QS regulatory systems can act as integrated hierarchical regulatory networks and usually this involves the regulation of QS regulators. Such networks can be influenced by many different physiological and environmental inputs and we describe diverse examples of these. In the final section, we describe different examples of how eukaryotes can influence QS regulation in Gram-negative bacteria. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Scheller H.V.,Joint BioEnergy Institute | Ulvskov P.,Copenhagen University
Annual Review of Plant Biology | Year: 2010

Hemicelluloses are polysaccharides in plant cell walls that have β-(1 → 4)-linked backbones with an equatorial configuration. Hemicelluloses include xyloglucans, xylans, mannans and glucomannans, and β-(1 → 3,1 → 4)-glucans. These types of hemicelluloses are present in the cell walls of all terrestrial plants, except for β-(1 → 3,1 → 4)-glucans, which are restricted to Poales and a few other groups. The detailed structure of the hemicelluloses and their abundance vary widely between different species and cell types. The most important biological role of hemicelluloses is their contribution to strengthening the cell wall by interaction with cellulose and, in some walls, with lignin. These features are discussed in relation to widely accepted models of the primary wall. Hemicelluloses are synthesized by glycosyltransferases located in the Golgi membranes. Many glycosyltransferases needed for biosynthesis of xyloglucans and mannans are known. In contrast, the biosynthesis of xylans and β-(1 → 3,1 → 4)-glucans remains very elusive, and recent studies have led to more questions than answers. Copyright © 2010 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 5.00K | Year: 2013

United States

« Velodyne LiDAR introduces 32-channel ULTRA Puck VLP-32A high definition real-time 3D LiDAR | Main | Delphi unveils new 48V mild hybrid system; working with two OEMs toward production within 18 months » A team led by researchers at the DOE’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, CA, has engineered E. coli bacteria for the one-pot production of the monoterpene bio-jet fuel precursor D-limonene from ionic-liquid-pretreated cellulose and switchgrass. A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Green Chemistry. The ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate is highly effective in deconstructing lignocellulose, but leaves behind residual reagents that are toxic to standard saccharification enzymes and the microbial production host. The JBEI researchers discovered a strain of E. coli that is tolerant to that ionic liquid due to a specific mutation. They engineered this strain to express a D-limonene production pathway. They also expressed a cellulase also tolerant to the ionic liquid in the engineered bacteria. The final strain digests pretreated biomass, and uses the liberated sugars to produce the bio-jet fuel precursor D-limonene in a one-pot process. Terpene-based compounds provide a range of candidates with energy content and combustion properties that make them suitable for gasoline, diesel as well as jet fuel needs. Monoterpenes are 10-carbon (C ) terpenes derived from two C isoprene units. Recent progress in consolidated bioprocessing addresses the cost of the saccharification enzymes and has led to the development of a variety of strains that express cellulase enzymes and in some examples are also coupled to a production pathway. However, these engineered strains will also be hampered by growth inhibitory compounds that are routinely present in pretreated hydrolysates, making the use of industrially relevant hydrolysates challenging. In the case of IL pretreated hydrolysates, the toxicity of residual ILs to the microbial production host is the major 8 challenge to optimizing an integrated process, and has led to studies that focus on discovery of tolerance bestowing mechanisms and strain engineering to optimize the expression of such genes. A necessary next step in the area of biofuel production is to consolidate the findings from studies that have examined and found solutions to different segments of the bioconversion process, from cellulases that may allow efficient saccharification in IL-containing hydrolysate, strains that can withstand residual ILs and synthetic metabolic pathways that convert the biomass-derived sugars to desirable final products. The engineered E. coli produced D-limonene from IL-pretreated biomass at final titer of 150 mg/L. These levels are lower than the best reported yields obtained using glucose as a carbon source; however, the control E. coli production strain is unable to produce any D-limonene in IL-containing medium.

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