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Global Bioenergies adapts its bacteria to produce bio-isobutene from sucrose

Global Bioenergies has adapted its bio-isobutene process, first developed with glucose as a resource, for the use of sucrose, the main component of sugar cane and sugar beet. The adaptation of the process to sucrose was one the first technical milestones set as part of “IBN-One”, the Joint-Venture between Global Bioenergies and Cristal Union. (Earlier post.)

Isobutene is a key chemical building block that can be converted into transportation fuels, polymers and various commodity chemicals.

It is the first time that isobutene, a key hydrocarbon used in fuels and materials and traditional extracted from fossil oil, is produced from sugar beet-derived sucrose by fermentation.

—Frederic Paques, COO of Global Bioenergies

The objective is to build and operate the first full-scale bio-isobutene commercial plant to convert sugar beets into 50,000 tonnes bio-isobutene by 2018.

Global Bioenergies originally engineered a synthetic isobutene production pathway into Escherichia coli bacteria, enabling the production of isobutene via fermentation of glucose, a sugar derived from cereals (corn, wheat) or tubers (potatoes, cassava).

Sugar beet and sugar cane contain another sugar molecule: sucrose, also known as saccharose. Whereas yeasts naturally utilize sucrose, bacteria such as E. coli mainly consume glucose.

Global Bioenergies has now successfully engineered its isobutene production strain through a synthetic biology approach to utilize sucrose as feedstock.

Whereas glucose is the major North-American feedstock, sucrose is abundant in Europe and South-America, noted Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies.

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