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DEINOVE and Tyton partner to combine bacterial fermentation solutions with energy tobacco feedstock for biofuels and bio-based chemicals

DEINOVE, a biotech company developing innovative processes for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals using Deinococcus bacteria as host strains (earlier post), and Tyton BioEnergy Systems, an agricultural biotech company with novel tobacco technology used to produce green chemicals and agricultural products, have entered into a technology and commercialization partnership.

The main goal of the partnership is to combine Tyton’s energy tobacco feedstock, process and production infrastructure with DEINOVE’s Deinococcus-based fermentation solutions in order to produce green chemical compounds of high commercial value.

Tyton created an energy tobacco with increased natural sugar and oil content in order to produce biofuels more efficiently. The Tyton extraction process also removes nicotine from the tobacco; the energy tobacco cannot be used for smoking or chewing. Tyton Energy Tobacco has a number of advantages for as a biofuel feedstock, including:

  • Tobacco is naturally low in lignin for a lower cellulosic ethanol production cost.

  • Tobacco growing is well understood by farmers with current production in over 100 countries.

  • Tobacco does not disrupt the global food supply.

  • Tobacco is a low water usage plant that can grow on marginal lands.

Tyton says that one acre of its patented non-smoking tobacco outperforms corn, soy and other cellulosic feedstocks.

Discovered by chance in 1956 by biologist Arthur Anderson, Deinococci offer a range of properties valuable to industry:

  • A high resistance to physicochemical stress: ionizing radiation, desiccation, solvents, ethanol, butanol, alkaline and acids, high temperatures, toxic chemical compounds (aldehydes).

  • The ability to integrate, and then to sustainably retain, in its genome large fragments of exogenous DNA.

  • Novel enzymatic and metabolic properties: not only the ability to manufacture rare compounds (natural carotenoids, enzymes, antibiotics, antifungals...) from biomass components other commonly used organisms do not use (such as certain complex sugars), but also the ability to co-digest several sugars.

DEINOVE has built a rich Deinococcus library of more than 6,000 strains and developed a technology platform that enables it to select the best strain profile, to optimize these in an automated and robotic manner, but also to validate these new production systems under pre-industrial conditions.

DEINOVE’s patent portfolio includes 16 families representing more than 180 patent applications worldwide and covering Deinococcus’ genetic engineering methods, their exclusive properties for lignocellulosic biomass degradation, and their industrial applications such as production of ethanol and other biobased products.

DEINOVE’s primary markets are 2nd-generation biofuels (e.g., DEINOL, ethanol produced by bi-functional bacteria that assimilate cellulose components and hemi-cellulosic biomass); and bio-based chemicals (DEINOCHEM). The company offers its technology to industrial partners globally.

DEINOVE’s CBP (Consolidated BioProcessing) solutions are currently optimized on a variety of sugar sources such as corn, wheat and urban waste, and they can flexibly utilize simple, starch or cellulosic sugars.

The energy tobacco crop developed by Tyton provides an opportunity to diversify applications for Deinococcus, and the two companies will explore various renewable chemical options for commercialization, beginning in the southeast region of the United States.

From a scientific perspective, Deinove’s technology platform represents a crucial step forward in industrial fermentation. The Deinococci bacteria can assimilate partially hydrolyzed sugar chains at high temperature to produce an attractive portfolio of renewable chemicals in a cost-effective way. Together with Tyton’s energy tobacco sugars, our partnership is a game changer.

—Dr. Iulian Bobe, CTO of Tyton



I favor growing corn and sorghum for ethanol production supplying distillers grain for livestock then use the stalks for cellulose ethanol.


Why not all of the above?

In just human feces alone there should be enough fuel to get most of the transportation sector moving... add in food wastes/ crop wastes/ consumerism wastes (like plastics, paper goods, trash in general) we should be pretty well set. Trash/waste is a problem... it has to go somewhere, might as well put it to use as a fuel.

I am all for waste to energy. Synthetic fuels will probably be in our future for a long while, at least until those 5-5-5 batteries come out, probably a few decades later too, especially so if H2 gets pushed out of the equation. Heavy industry needs dense/quick filling fuels.

I personally have no problem with using "food crops" as fuel too... humans don't really have dire nutritional need of corn (especially high fructose corn syrup). I don't think the US or any developed nation is struggling to provide food in the wake of corn/food stuffs ethanol. That and as SJC said, this can be part of the life cycle, the nutritious bits can still be sent to fatten up livestock. Its win win win.

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