Bioenergy research findings pave the way for the production of new hydrocarbons

Jul 27, 2020

Fatty acid is a diet rich in chlorophyll, which can give it antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It is now known as the versatility of fatty acids and can be used as a raw material for bioenergy production.


Scientists at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center are hooked on a special long-chain fatty acid called furan fatty acid because it can replace petroleum-based products, including fuels, engine lubricants, pharmaceuticals and food additives. Now, a team of GLBRC collaborators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison describe the pathways by which furan fatty acids are produced in bacteria and other cells.


Similar to other fatty acids, furan fatty acids or FuFA are found in membranes that form cell boundaries. The role of these fatty acids is similar to an oily filter, which protects the inside of cells from changes in the external environment. They can also act as chemical messengers, telling cells when toxins or stress are present.


FuFAs are a special class of fatty acids that have broad appeal to biofuel scientists because the oxygen atoms are connected in the middle of the hydrocarbon chain.


GLBRC senior research expert Rachelle Lemke said: "The chemical action of FuFAs helps bacterial cells resist membrane damage. The oxygen atoms in FuFAs also interest biofuels and other industries." The product was recently published in the Journal of Biochemistry on. "Oxygen-based lighters can help ignite all other molecules in the fuel. FuFA's chain length also makes it a potential lubricant for engines and other equipment."


Lemke has previously identified FuFA and explored why the bacterium Rhodobacter spheroides died when exposed to highly reactive oxygen molecules called singlet oxygen. Lemke is a graduate student, studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Bacteriology and GLBRC Director Tim Donohue (Tim Donohue). However, they still lack information on how to make these important classes of fatty acids.