The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.


 

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In February 2019, the University of Utah published the article Algal lipid extraction using confined impinging jet mixers.  The article outlines the University of Utah engineers’ latest discovery of a new method for rapid lipid harvesting which is essential to energy parity for microbial derived biofuels.  This newly developed technique is not only faster but also more efficient, and uses confined impinging jet mixers (CIJM) to improve lipid extraction from microalgae.  CIJMs extract lipids rapidly and continuously creating a multistage unit operation of mixers that enhances microbial biofuel production.


 

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 28, 2019, DOE announced that scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have been working on molecular tools that reside naturally within microbial cells.  Microbes typically use these tools to carry out their metabolism and other life-sustaining processes; LANL researchers, however, have been using the tools to produce fuel precursors and bioproduct building blocks.  With the addition of a biosensor in the microbes, light allows the scientists to learn how efficiently the product is being made and thus enabling more efficient quality control to increase overall yield.  This technology is called LANL’s Smart Microbial Cell Technology and consists of a high throughput screening for enzyme discovery, design, and evolution.  It allows LANL to engineer custom biosensors that detect intracellular concentrations of a specific precursor.  This biosensor technology can, thus, be adapted to a single enzyme, pathway, or even global optimization of an industrial strain.  The work is being led by Taraka Dale, Remash Jha, and, Niju Narayanan at LANL, under the Agile BioFoundry multinational laboratory effort to expedite biomanufacturing processes.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 21, 2019, scientists Abdon Pena-Francesh and Melik C. Demirel, at Pennsylvania State University, published an article on the use of squid teeth tandem repeat proteins that can be functionally used for biodegradable fibers and films.  The flexible and tough material results from a protein present in the squid teeth, which can be grown biosynthetically by E. coli bacteria.  This biosynthetic expression of squid teeth proteins presents a number of advantages over direct extraction from the natural source.  It is a sustainable, controllable, and industrially scalable manner of producing these biobased fibers and films.  Currently labeled as “smart textiles,” these fibers and films are capable of autonomous self-healing.  Because of their biocompatibility and self-healing properties, the squid teeth films are applicable not only to clothing textiles, but also in biomedical implants.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 14, 2019, scientists in China published an article revealing a new methodology developed to safely transform methanol into ethanol.  Given methanol’s toxicity, this recently uncovered method allows for a more secure, user-friendly, sustainable technology that can be more broadly applied.  The scientific article reports a photo-driven one-step conversion of methanol to ethanol at ambient temperature.  A relatively simple process, the methodology used can be broadly applied and enables a green and novel method for generating building blocks in synthetic chemistry.


 
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