Available Technology

BSA 11-30: Enhanced Alkane production by Aldehyde Decarbonylase Fusion Constructs

Alkanes are the major constituents of gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. They are also naturally produced directly from fatty acid metabolites by diverse species such as insects and plants, for example. The quantities made naturally, however, are not commercially viable. Engineered biosynthesis of alkanes may provide a renewable source of hydrocarbon biofuel. Alkanes are made by the conversion of aldehydes in a process aided by aldehyde decarbonylase (AD or ADC). This invention enhances the use of aldehyde decarbonylase for the synthesis of alkanes through relief of the apparent inhibition of the ADC.
Patent Abstract: 
This invention resolves heretofore unrecognized inhibition of aldehyde decarbonylase. The inhibition has been found to result from the byproduct, hydrogen peroxide, that is formed during the reduction of aldehydes to alkanes and alkenes. Two solutions to this inhibition have been found in this invention. In vitro, the aldehyde decarbonylase (ADC) reaction is extended by the addition of catalase to the reaction mixture. Constructs of a fusion between the ADC and catalase produce a fusion protein that in vivo and in vitro efficiently convert aldehydes to alkanes. Thus, not only is inhibition reversed, but the inhibiting byproduct is converted to a substrate!
Businesses seeking to produce meaningful amounts of alkanes and alkenes from aldehydes in plants or microorganisms have been thwarted by the rapid cessation of the reaction carried out by aldehyde decarbonylase. The present invention greatly increases the turnover number of the reaction and may result in successful production of fuels from renewable sources.
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