Latest Publications

Our faculty’s research is frequently accepted for inclusion in the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals, with over 330 articles published in 2015 alone. Below you will find the most recent publications.

The abstracts below are updated daily. For a more complete list, please visit this PubMed link.

Cell-free styrene biosynthesis at high titers.

Cell-free styrene biosynthesis at high titers.

Metab Eng. 2020 Jun 02;:

Authors: Grubbe WS, Rasor BJ, Krüger A, Jewett MC, Karim AS

Styrene is an important petroleum-derived molecule that is polymerized to make versatile plastics, including disposable silverware and foamed packaging materials. Finding more sustainable methods, such as biosynthesis, for producing styrene is essential due to the increasing severity of climate change as well as the limited supply of fossil fuels. Recent metabolic engineering efforts have enabled the biological production of styrene in Escherichia coli, but styrene toxicity and volatility limit biosynthesis in cells. To address these limitations, we have developed a cell-free styrene biosynthesis platform. The cell-free system provides an open reaction environment without cell viability constraints, which allows exquisite control over reaction conditions and greater carbon flux toward product formation rather than cell growth. The two biosynthetic enzymes required for styrene production were generated via cell-free protein synthesis and mixed in defined ratios with supplemented L-phenylalanine and buffer. By altering the time, temperature, pH, and enzyme concentrations in the reaction, this approach increased the cell-free titer of styrene from 5.36 ± 0.63 mM to 40.33 ± 1.03 mM, the highest amount achieved using biosynthesis without process modifications and product removal strategies. Cell-free systems offer a complimentary approach to cellular synthesis of small molecules, which can provide particular benefits for producing toxic molecules.

PMID: 32502620 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]