(6fb) A Systems Level Approach Towards Rational Strain Development for Microbial Bioprocesses

Venkataramanan, K. P., University of Delaware

Microbial based biochemical and/or biofuel production presents an attractive and sustainable potential source of industrial chemicals and transportation fuels have been the research focus in the recent past. The attractiveness of this approach is greatly enhanced by the use of renewable feedstock such as lignocellulosic materials, waste product and byproduct streams such as crude glycerol derived from biodiesel production and gaseous effluents (CO2 and CO) from industrial plants. Generation of value added products from waste streams not only offers an efficient and effective means to recycle, reuse and/or dispose the waste stream but also improves the overall economics of a sustainable biorefinery.  However, there are challenges associated with the efficient utilization of the materials such as lignocellulosic compounds and other waste product, thereby lowering the efficiency of the bioconversion process. Moreover, the production of biofuels and biochemicals from microbial fermentation has been severely limited due to the accumulation of products, such as butanol, which are toxic to the cells producing them, resulting in a stress response associated with growth and survival inhibition, and other cellular physiological events such as sporulation observed in the genus of Clostridia, thereby limiting the productivity of the desired end product.

The metabolic potential and regulation of the microbial metabolism can be comprehensively interpreted using the tools of systems biology and the information obtained from such study can be used for rational design of the metabolic pathways and regulation. By linking the changes in genome (structural genome) for strains exhibiting desired characteristics from directed evolution and/or chemical mutagenesis to the (functional genome) transcriptome, proteome and metabolome of the cells thereby, enabling targeted genome engineering towards the development of highly productive and/or tolerant strain.