Etablierung einer „Oleobiotechnologie“: Produktion von Alkanen und Olefinen mit Hilfe oleogener Mikroorganismen (BMBF, Bioeconomy International Projekt mit China) – M. Sc. Olga Gorte (seit 09/2017, laufend)

For the development of a competitive bioeconomy, both sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives for products already established on the market and highly innovative ways to produce new platform chemicals are urgently needed. n-Alkanes and n-Alkenes (olefins) represent in this context an important class of molecules that have already been used for a long time in the chemical industry, both energetically and materially. Due to the numerous already established applications of these compounds as well as further new application possibilities, there is an enormous market potential. To date, n-alkanes and olefins are largely obtained from petrochemical resources and are often present in product mixtures. Therefore, biotechnological production of very pure single compounds, defined mixtures of alkanes or olefins, or derivatives that cannot be obtained chemically could offer a major advantage over chemical production. In addition, microbial production offers the possibility of using renewable raw materials for the production of n-alkanes and olefins and thus becoming less dependent on fossil raw materials.

Therefore, the aim of this project is to establish a bioprocess using genetically modified oleogenic yeast strains for the production of n-alkanes and olefins starting from renewable substrates. Metabolic flux analyses and gene expression analyses of key enzymes will be used to identify metabolic bottlenecks as a starting point for further genetic modifications to increase yield. Small-scale cultivations will be carried out to identify promising production strains, with production planned on a 500 L scale. In addition to strain development, special attention will be paid to the aspect of product separation to ensure the economic viability of the process.