Available Technology

Novel Biosynthetic Pathway for Production of Fatty Acid Derived Molecules EIB-2386

Jay Keasling and Eric Steen of Berkeley Lab have invented what may be the most efficient metabolic pathway for producing fatty acids, and their derived molecules of desired chain length, by utilizing fatty acid elongases. In this technology, products are secreted from a host cell, such as E. coli. The host cell can be modified to increase fatty acid production or export the desired fatty acid (or fatty acid derived compound). The host cell can also decrease fatty acid storage or metabolism so that it secretes fatty acids and fatty acid derived compounds that require only inexpensive purification to yield the desired final products. The Berkeley Lab invention uses recently discovered elongases to directly synthesize fatty acyl-CoAs for the biosynthesis of compounds such as fatty acids, aldehydes, alcohols, and alkanes with desired acyl chain length ranging from C10 to C18. These compounds are synthesized from the starter molecule, butyryl-CoA. By providing a direct pathway to fatty acyl-CoAs, the fatty acid derived molecules are produced more efficiently than in alternative approaches. Further, the resulting molecules can be directly converted to biofuels or beneficial oils and therapeutics since all fatty acid modifying enzymes work on fatty acyl-CoA substrates.
Directly uses Coenzyme A (CoA) mediated chemistry - Potentially more efficient than current extraction processes in biotech and chemical industries - Easy control of fatty acid chain length
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Patent Status: 
Available for licensing or collaborative research. - Published patent application WO 2009/006430 available at www.wipo.int.
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