Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2019

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E75

Transforming Vinegar into Wine: Bioconversion of carboxylic acids into alcohols

Höfundar / Authors: Sean M. Scully (1,2), Jóhann Örlygsson (1)

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: 1. University of Akureyri, 2. University of Iceland

Kynnir / Presenter: Sean Michael Scully

Alcohols are highly useful chemical building blocks with a diverse range of applications although the vast majority of alcohols are produced from non-renewable petroleum feedstocks. Thus, the ability of some Thermoanaerobacter species to produce bioalcohols (namely bioethanol) from a wide range of substrates is of general interest in the context of biofuel production while their recently demonstrated ability to reduce volatile fatty acids to their corresponding alcohols provides a new avenue for the production of more specialty bioalcohols. For instance, Thermoanaerobacter pseudoethanolicus converts C2-C6 short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) to their corresponding alcohols in the presence of a source of reducing potential such as glucose. Efforts to optimize the culture conditions for these bioreductions have revealed that near-neutral pH and an excess of reducing potential facilitate higher conversion yields. Furthermore, recent work has demonstrated that inexpensive carboxylic acids (acetic acid, butyric acid, hexanoic acid) can be converted to their corresponding alcohols using Thermoanaerobacter species by adding a source of reducing potential. Given the ubiquity of carboxylic acids in waste streams, this presents a potentially useful “green” and sustainable route for the conversion of these acids to useful materials while reducing the impact of waste streams.