Production of C7 Alcohol (2-Isopropyl-1-Butanol) in Escherichia Coli by Combining Protein Evolution and Metabolic Engineering

Tech ID: 29729 / UC Case 2007-788-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have developed metabolically-modified microorganisms for producing the biofuel 2-isopropyl-1-butanol.


Petroleum’s low sustainability as a fuel source has generated interest in alternatives such as biofuels. Specifically, alcohols such as methanol, ethanol, propanol, and butanol, possess chemical properties which make them useful in internal combustion engines. However, alcohols have lower energy densities than gasoline. For example, methanol has about half the energy density as gasoline. While their energy densities tend to be respectively lower than gasoline, biofuels tend to be more easily and efficiently produced than refining petroleum. Thus, there is a need for biofuels with increasing energy densities towards a more sustainable fuel source.


UCLA researchers have demonstrated metabolically-modified microorganisms for producing biofuels. The novel metabolic system produces 2-isopropyl-1-butanol from glucose using E. coli. This is the first demonstration of 2-isopropyl-1-butanol production in any organism. Compared to ethanol, 2-isopropyl 1-butanol has a very high energy density and boiling point. Moreover, the product can readily separate from culture mediums when produced in high yield due to its extremely low solubility.


  • Biofuels
  • Fuel additives


  • First demonstration of its kind
  • High energy density and boiling point
  • Extremely low solubility

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 8,298,798 10/30/2012 2007-788


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  • Liao, James C.

Other Information


C7 alcohols, Metabolically-engineered microorganisms, biofuels, 2-isopropyl-1-butanol, Escherichia coli, fuel additives

Categorized As