More Efficient Use of Raw Materials with the Aid of ‘Molecular Conveyor Belts’
(Phys. Org/Goethe University) Currently, making products such as fuels, synthetic materials or pharmaceuticals from renewable raw materials lacks efficiency because the microorganisms process the raw materials very slowly and generate many unwanted by-products. Biotechnologists at Goethe University Frankfurt have now succeeded in optimizing sugar utilization in baker’s yeast.
Thomas Thomik and Dr. Mislav Oreb from the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at Goethe University Frankfurt have now succeeded in channeling the metabolism of baker’s yeast in such a way that sugar can be used more productively. In the latest issue of the renowned scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology, the researchers present a new mechanism by which the raw materials are delivered directly to the desired enzymes by transport proteins.
In their study, the biotechnologists show that the sugar xylose is converted into ethanol by such “molecular conveyor belts” (transport metabolons) more efficiently by minimizing the production of the unwanted by-product xylitol.
“The underlying principle could be used to make any manner of product from sugars, such as biofuels, synthetic materials or pharmaceuticals. The concept has the potential to make biotechnological processes more ecologically and economically sustainable, since efficient sugar utilization is a fundamental requirement for this,” says Mislav Oreb. READ MORE Abstract (Nature Chemical Biology)