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Metabolic Manipulation of Methanogens for Methane Machinations

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Journal Article - Open Access

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University University Park United States

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The U.S.A is moving toward energy independence. The reason is cheap methane. This remarkable availability of methane is now driving synthetic biology, and an exciting prediction is that methane will be harnessed for biotechnological applications using not the traditional workhorse E. coli or aerobic methanotrophs, but instead, using archaeal strains, specifically methanogens, in anaerobic fermentations based on biosynthetic pathways such as that recently shown to convert methane to the biotechnological building block acetate. As opposed to chemical plants which employ FischerTropsch processes to convert methane into liquid fuels, biological conversion of methane is a more economically and environmentally sustainable, as it requires a smaller footprint and is less technologically complex. Hence, harnessing methane has been recognized as one of the most important near-term goals for biochemical engineering.

Subject Categories:

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology

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