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High-Throughput Selection Platform to Obtain NMN+-Utilizing Enzymes Through Directed Evolution

Noncanonical redox cofactor-based biotransformation is an attractive low-cost alternative to traditional cell-free reductive biotransformation. However, engineering enzymes to utilize noncanonical redox cofactors has been challenging. Addressing this problem, researchers at UC Irvine have developed a high-throughput directed evolution platform that enables development of such enzymes with ~147-fold improved catalytic efficiency, which translates to an industry-viable total turnover number of ~45,000 in cell-free biotransformation without requiring high cofactor concentrations.

Biomimetic Chemical Compounds for Capturing Carbon Dioxide from Power Plant Stacks and the Atmosphere

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed synthetic biochemical compounds that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or sources such as power plants. These new derivatives mimic how some plants capture carbon dioxide from the air and use it for photosynthesis.

CELF: Lowering the Cost of Producing Renewable Fuels and Green Solvents from Lignocellulosic Biomass

Prof. Charles Wyman and Prof. Charles Cai from the University of California, Riverside have developed Co-solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation (CELF), a pretreatment process for lignocellulosic biomass to reduce cost of biofuel production. CELF has demonstrated exceptional biomass solubilization performance and versatility to support both fermentative and catalytic pathways for producing low-cost ethanol, biogasoline, biojet, and renewable marine bunker fuels. CELF can also enable bioplastics production from lignin. For any operation looking to process biomass and biomass wastes, CELF can be seamlessly integrated to accelerate efficiencies and reduce operating costs. Fig 1: Simple block flow diagram illustrating the integration of CELF into a 2nd generation bioethanol operation. Note the solvent and chemical recycle loops that minimize system waste. Pure biomass lignin is generated as a carbon-neutral co-product suitable as a solid fuel or as a high performance chemical building block for producing bioplastics and bioadhesives. No toxic or corrosive waste is generated, process can be food-grade.  

Precision Graphene Nanoribbon Wires for Molecular Electronics Sensing and Switch

The inventors have developed a highly scalable multiplexed approach to increase the density of graphene nanoribbon- (GNR) based transistors. The technology forms a single device/chip (scale to 16,000 to >1,000,000 parallel transistors) on a single integrated circuit for single molecule biomolecular sensing, electrical switching, magnetic switching, and logic operations. This work relates to the synthesis and the manufacture of molecular electronic devices, more particularly sensors, switches, and complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) chip-based integrated circuits.Bottom-up synthesized graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) have emerged as one of the most promising materials for post-silicon integrated circuit architectures and have already demonstrated the ability to overcome many of the challenges encountered by devices based on carbon nanotubes or photolithographically patterned graphene. The new field of synthetic electronics borne out of GNRs electronic devices could enable the next generation of electronic circuits and sensors.  

(SD2020-014) Biosynthetic Production Of L-4-Chlorokynurenine

The non‐proteinogenic amino acid l‐4‐chlorokynurenine (l‐4‐Cl‐Kyn) is a next‐generation, fast‐acting oral prodrug for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Additional studies report that this drug candidate is effective in animal models for the treatment of neuropathic pain, epilepsy, and Huntington's disease.  After active transport across the blood–brain barrier, it is enzymatically converted into the active agent 7‐chlorokynurenic acid, which is a highly selective competitive antagonist of the N‐methyl‐d‐aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor.   Suicide is 2-7x higher in Veterans than non-veterans, and may be related to brain kynurenine pathway (KP) dysregulation and NMDA receptor (NMDAR) hyperactivation.  L-4-Chlorokynurenine (L-4-Cl-Kyn) is a neuropharmaceutical drug candidate that is in development for the treatment of major depressive disorder (Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Phase 2 Trial to Test Efficacy and Safety of AV-101 (L-4-chlorokynurenine) as Adjunct to Current Antidepressant Therapy in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder (the ELEVATE Study)).

In plantae production of heterologous proteins using viral amplicons

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a viral amplicon-based vector system for heterologous protein expression and production in plants.

Spray Dry Method for Calcium Cross-linked Alginate Encapsulation of Biological and Chemical Moieties via the Use of Chelating Agents

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a one-step spray dry calcium cross-linked alginate encapsulation process where the calcium is released from a chelating agent.

Method For Production Of Fatty Acids In Blue-Green Algae

Currently, renewable fatty acids are obtained solely from plant oils. Medium chain fatty acids (C8-C14) are typically sourced from coconut and palm oil, whereas longer chain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids are typically sourced from tallow, soy, corn or sunflower oil. Fatty acids are widely used for food, personal care products, industrial applications (e.g., lubricants, adhesives, detergents and plastics), as well as increasingly as biofuels. The demand for renewable fatty acids is rising and expanding. Given the current understanding of biological pathways it becomes possible to utilize other organisms, especially microorganisms, for the production of renewable chemicals such as fatty acids.

Conversion Of Co2 To Higher Alcohols Using Photosynthetic Microorganisms

UCLA researchers have discovered a way to convert carbon dioxide into potential biofuels through the metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria.  This method enables more efficient production of biofuels using an industrial waste product as a starting material.

Cephalopod-Inspired Adaptive Infrared Camouflage Materials and Systems

This technology is a new class of materials capable of thermal regulation and active camouflage. These cephalopod-inspired materials, configurable to different geometries, can be used in many sectors, ranging from consumer to industrial to military applications.

(SD2018-178) Engineering Polyketide Synthase Machinery in Synechococcus Cyanobacteria

Complex polyketides include a family of natural products that possess a wide variety of pharmacological or biological activities. Numerous polyketides and their semisynthetic derivatives have been approved for clinical use in humans or animals, including antibiotics, antifungal agents, immunosuppressants, antiparasitic agents and insecticides. All these natural products share a common mechanism of biosynthesis and are produced by a class of enzymes called polyketide synthases (PKSs). Besides their essential role in the biosynthesis of a vast diversity of natural products, the versatility of PKSs can be further emphasized as they can be redesigned and repurposed to produce novel molecules that could be used as fuels, industrial chemicals, and monomers. Most polyketide producers are slow-growing, recalcitrant to genetic manipulation, or even non-culturable.Cyanobacteria are particularly attractive for the production of natural compounds because they have minimal nutritional demands and several strains have well established genetic tools. 

Synthetic Algal Promoters as a Tool for Increasing Nuclear Gene Expression in Green Algae

Algae have enormous potential as bio-factories for the efficient production of a wide array of high-value products, and eventually as a source of renewable biofuels. However, tools for engineering the nuclear genomes of algae remain scarce and limited in functionality, in part due to lack of strong promoters.

A Highly Error-Prone Orthogonal Replication System For Targeted Continuous Evolution In Vivo

Inventors at UC Irvine have engineered an orthogonal DNA replication system capable of rapid, accelerated continuous evolution. This system enables the directed evolution of specific biomolecules towards user-defined functions and is applicable to problems of protein, enzyme, and metabolic pathway engineering.

Non-Oxidative Glycolysis For Production Of Acetyl-CoA Derived Compounds

The Liao group at UCLA has constructed a Non-Oxidative Glycolysis pathway for the synthesis of biofuel precursors with a 100% carbon conversion rate.

Hydrocarbon Production, H2 Evolution And CO2 Conversion By Whole Cells Or Engineered Azotobacter Vinelandii Strains

Using metal catalysts in industrial synthesis of hydrocarbons for fuels can be costly, inefficient, and harmful to the environment. This simple approach uses genetically-modified soil bacterium to synthesize valuable hydrocarbons using recycled components. This novel process is environmentally-friendly and is more cost- and energy-efficient than current industrial synthesis.

Biomass-Derived Polymers And Copolymers Incorporating Monolignols And Their Derivatives

UCLA researchers in the Departments of Bioengineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a novel synthetic strategy for the fabrication of biomass-derived polymers incorporating underutilized lignin derivatives.

A Molecular Rheostat Design that Maintains ATP Levels Needed to Drive Cell-Free Synthetic Biochemistry Systems

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a system for regulation of cofactors in cell free biochemical production.

Rapid, Portable And Cost-Effective Yeast Cell Viability And Concentration Analysis Using Lensfree On-Chip Microscopy And Machine Learning

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a new portable device to rapidly measure yeast cell viability and concentration using a lab-on-chip design.

Organic Waste Material Treatment

A researcher at the University of California, Davis has developed a method for treating organic waste materials.

Renewable Energy Synthesis System

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a novel system for acetoin and 2,3-butanediol synthesis from carbon dioxide.

Method and System for Ultra High Dynamic Range Nucleic Acid Quantification

Researchers at UC Irvine developed a device and method that combines the high dynamic range and high accuracy of digital PCR (dPCR) with the real-time analysis of quantitative PCR (qPCR) to achieve a ultra-high dynamic range PCR over 10 to 12 orders of magnitude. The present method is accomplished by a highly integrated design that optimally packs, thermocycles, and images as many as 1 million reaction vessels.

Self-Adaptive Control And Optimization Of Ultrafiltration

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering have developed a novel UF-RO system.

Mammalian Cell Culture Optimization

Biotherapeutic proteins manufactured in cell culture systems have transformed modern medicine. Selling many tens of billions per year, new biotherapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies have delivered dramatic clinical results, while posing significant manufacturing problems.: During the cell culture manufacturing process, toxic bioproducts such as lactate and ammonia have posed considerable challenges in bioprocessing, since they limit cell growth and impact critical quality attributes of recombinant protein production (e.g., therapeutic drugs, enzymes). That is because the lactate alters the regulation of biosynthetic enzymes, and can lead to changes in pH in the culture. To mitigate the negative effects of lactic acid accumulation and control the culture pH, chemical ‘base’ is added to the media during the course of a bioprocess. However, the base addition negatively impacts the bioprocess by inhibiting growth and shortening the length of time in which the cells can produce the recombinant protein. This leads to reduced yield, and increased cost-of-goods. Thus, it is of great interest to eliminate lactate production, and UC San Diego researchers have recently developed a new process for achieving this.  

Controllable Emulsification and Point-Of-Care Assays Driven by Magnetic Induced Movement of the Fluid

UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed a microfluidic droplet generation technique that only uses magnetic forces to emulsify ferrofluid containing solutions.

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