The production of fuels and petrochemical compounds from renewable sources with high yield and productivity is one of the most challenges of the biotechnology industry nowadays. Among these petrochemical compounds, butanol is an important industrial chemical and an excellent alternative fuel. Butanol can be produced either from petroleum derivatives, as naturally by anaerobic fermentation using solventogenic clostridia. This fermentation process is known as ABE fermentation because it has as main products acetone, butanol and ethanol (ABE), in a ratio of 3:6:1. The main obstacles to butanol production on industrial scale are the high cost of substrates used as raw material and low fermentation performance. In this context, the objective of this project is to develop strains with high yields of butanol production by disruption of the genes buk, pta and CAC2613. This genes are related to the production of butyrate and acetate, byproducts of ABE fermentation, and the xylose metabolism. Thus, disruptions of these genes could lead to the redirection of the carbon flux to butanol and also improve xylose utilization by modified strains. Moreover, evolutionary engineering methods will also be used in order to develop strains with increased tolerance to butanol and inhibitors found in hydrolysate. By the end of the project, it is intended to obtain a strain with a high butanol production and highly adapted to hydrolysate. This modified strain will have a great potential to be applied on industrial scale fermentation.
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