Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2017

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E17

Genetic engineering of an Icelandic thermophilic bacteria: from macroalgae to bioethanol

Höfundar / Authors: Antoine MOENAERT(1,2), Ólafur H. Friðjónsson(1), Bryndís Björnsdóttir(1), Guðmundur Óli Hreggviðsson(1,2)

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: 1. Matís 2. Haskólí Island

Kynnir / Presenter: Antoine Moenaert

In the context of fossil fuel shortage and the need of sustainable fuel production, research has been focused on alternative biomass sources. When converting crops into biofuel, industries now have to avoid competition with food production and instead find novel sustainable feedstocks (e.g. wood waste, micro-algae). Seaweed biomass is a largely underexploited feedstock and of special interest to the Icelandic economy as it may be a significant sustainable natural biomass available in sufficient quantities for production of renewable chemicals. In this context the development of an efficient bio-conversion organism for such biomass is one of the most challenging tasks. Iceland possesses many extreme environments hosting life for numerous extremophiles as potential bio-conversion organisms. The thermophilic bacterium Thermoanaerobacterium AK17 has been isolated from a geothermal area near Krafla volcano and studied for its fermentation and resistance capacities. By using genetic and metabolic engineering the strain has been improved for ethanol production. Some of the next challenges are implementing new pathways for macroalgal carbohydrate utilization, the optimization of the electron fluxes and the adaptation to higher substrate concentrations. This would be the first example of synthetic biology for production of bioethanol from seaweed with a thermophile.