Systems biology of bacterial methylotrophy for biotechnological products from methanol

Genetically engineered bacteria are widely used as cell factories for production of special, fine, bulk, and fuel chemicals. Industrial biotechnology mainly uses sugars and molasses as carbon source, and these raw materials are derived from plants demanding cultivable land which is more and more needed for human nutrition. Methanol is abundant and regarded as alternative highly attractive non-feed raw material in microbial bioprocesses. Methylotrophy, the ability of certain specialized bacteria to use methanol as carbon source for growth, bears the potential to build value from methanol through production of value-added chemicals. A systems-level understanding of bacteria is a prerequisite for their rational engineering and efficient use as cell factories in industrial biotechnology. The MetApp project goal is to gain systems-level understanding of evolutionary alternatives of bacterial methylotrophy to deduce and experimentally evaluate strategies for methanol-based production of sought-after chemicals.

Project group
Trygve Brautaset, SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Trondheim, Norway
Julia Vorholt, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Volker Wendisch, Bielefeld University, Germany
Jean-Charles Portais, INSA Toulouse, France
Nils Spidsøe, SINVENT AS, Norway