Making fuels and household chemicals from sugar

Professor Nicholas Turner's group have identified a biocatalyst which could produce chemicals found in ice-cream and household items such as soap and shampoo.

Professor Nicholas Turner's group have identified a biocatalyst which could produce chemicals found in ice-cream and household items such as soap and shampoo – possibly leading to the long-term replacement of chemicals derived from fossil fuels. In the article published in PNAS, "Carboxylic acid reductase is a versatile enzyme for the conversion of fatty acids into fuels and chemical commodities" explains how the emerging field of synthetic biology can be used to manipulate hydrocarbon chemicals, found in soaps and shampoos, in cells.

This development, discovered with colleagues at the University of Turku in Finland, could mean fuel for cars or household power supplies could be created from naturally-occurring fatty acids. Prof Nick Turner's group used synthetic biology to exploit the naturally-existing fatty acids and direct those fatty molecules towards the production of ready-to-use fuel and household chemicals.

For more information see the press release.

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