437878 Area 15A - Food - Plenary - Beyond Cell's Constraints: In Vitro Synthetic (Enzymatic) Biosystems for Next-Generation Biomanufacturing

Tuesday, November 10, 2015: 4:10 PM
150G (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Y.-H. Percival Zhang, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

The largest production challenge of biocommodities (e.g., biofuels, renewable chemicals, and even food) from carbohydrates, other energy sources (e.g., solar energy and methane) or other carbon sources (e.g., CO2 and coal) is economics with satisfying three manufacturing criteria: high product yield, fast productivity and easy product separation. Living natural or engineered cells have their inherent constraints, such as self-duplication, bioenergetics, cell membrane, and so on, resulting in their limited success in high-energy efficiency biotransformation, especially in the energy area. In vitro synthetic biosystems (IVSBs) via the in vitro assembly of numerous standardized and exchangeable enzymes or their complexes and/or (biomimetic) cofactors can implement complicated biological reactions that microbes cannot do.

In this talk, I will introduce basic concept of in vitro synthetic biosystems for biomanufacturing, and present our recent efforts: (1) sweet hydrogen production from hexose and pentose sugars, three times the highest yields of hydrogen-producing microorganisms; (2) complete oxidation of sugars to electricity, better than microbial fuel cells in terms of electron yield and productivity; and (3) low-cost biotransformation of cellulose to starch without the barrier of cellular membrane. In a word, in vitro synthetic biosystems based on stabilized enzyme mixtures would lead to a biomanufacturing paradigm shift and carbohydrate would be the best energy storage carrier, replacing crude oil.

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