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Efficient Production of Cellulase Enzymes Using Transient Agroinfiltration

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method to produce cellulase enzymes by utilizing a simple agroinfiltration process to transiently express full length cellulases in plant tissue.

Design Random Heteropolymer To Transport Proton Selectively And Rapidly

Despite decades of effort, it remains challenging, if not impossible, to achieve similar transport performance similar to natural channels. Inspired by the known crystal structures of transmembrane channel proteins, protein sequence-structure-transport relationships have been applied to guide material design. However, producing both molecularly defined channel sizes and channel lumen surfaces that are chemically diverse and spatially heterogeneous have been out of reach. We show that a 4-monomer-based random heteropolymer (RHP) exhibits selective proton transport at a rate similar to those of natural proton channels. Statistical control over the monomer distribution in the RHP leads to well-modulated segmental heterogeneity in hydrophobicity, which facilitates the single RHP chains to insert into lipid bilayers. This in turn produces rapid and selective proton transport, despite the sequence variability among RHP chains. We have demonstrated the importance of:the adaptability enabled by the statistical similaritythe modularity afforded by monomer chemical diversity to achieve uniform behavior in heterogeneous systems. 

Preserving Protein Function Via Statistically Random Heteropolymers

Protein-based materials have the potential to change the current paradigm of materials science. However, it still remains a challenge to preserve protein hierarchical structure and function while making them readily processable. Protein structure is inherently fluid, and it is this property that contributes to their fragility outside of their native environment. Through the use of rationally designed statistically random heteropolymers, it is possible to stabilize proteins at each hierarchical level and process them in organic solvents, a common need for materials fabrication. The chemical and architectural complexities of statistically random heteropolymers provide a modular platform for tunable protein-polymer-solvent interactions. This provides opportunities not offered by small molecule surfactants or amphiphilic block copolymers. Through evaluation of horseradish peroxidase and green fluorescent protein structure, we show that statistically random heteropolymers can stabilize enzymes. Allowing for activity retention when stored in organic solvent, over 80% activity was observed after 24 hours. Furthermore, horseradish peroxidase and chymotrypsin proteins, when encapsulated in statistically random heteropolymers, are still accessible to their substrates while remaining inaccessible to the denaturing organic solvent. Statistically random heteropolymers have potential in creating stimuli-reponsive materials and nanoreactors composed of proteins and synthetic materials.

High Pressure Heat Exchanger Produced by Additive Manufacturing

Researchers at the University of California, Davis and Carnegie Mellon University have developed a new design and fabrication method for high pressure heat exchangers (HX) using additive manufacturing (AM). This method would allow for the creation of primary heat exchanger (PHX) systems with minimal energy loss.

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.

Isobutanol Production Using Metabolically Engineered Escherichia Coli

UCLA researchers at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have engineered Escherichia coli bacteria to produce isobutanol from glucose.

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

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

Electrical Conduction In A Cephalopod Structural Protein

Fabricating materials from naturally occurring proteins that are inherently biocompatible enables the resulting material to be easily integrated with many downstream applications, ranging from batteries to transistors. In addition, protein-based materials are also advantageous because they can be physically tuned and specifically functionalized. Inventors have developed protein-based material from structural proteins such as reflectins found in cephalopods, a molluscan class that includes cuttlefish, squid, and octopus. In a space dominated by artificial, man-made proton-conducting materials, this material is derived from naturally occurring proteins.

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.

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.

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.

Engineered Yeast for Cellulosic Ethanol Production

Prof. Wilfred Chen and his lab at the University of California, Riverside designed and expressed a cellulosome that simultaneously hydrolyzes cellulose and produces ethanol that has an efficiency that is four times greater when compared to free floating enzymes like cellulases. A cellulosome is a consortium of hydrolytic enzymes that is expressed on the surface of yeast. This novel cellulosome design was inspired by anaerobic microbes that use enzyme consortiums to achieve sufficient energy production in unfavorable conditions. In close proximity, the constituent enzymes in the consortium can work synergistically, rapidly converting cellulose into ethanol. Fig. 1 shows the functional assembly of cellulosomes on the yeast cell surface. Cohesin and dockerin proteins are linked to the enzymes to help assemble the complex cellulosome. Fig. 2 shows time profiles of ethanol production from cellulose. A variety of different enzyme consortiums (At, At+Ec etc.) were used in the study, as well as free-floating cellulosomes and a control group (no cellulosome or free enzymes)    

Novel Synthesis of 2,5- Dimethylfuran from 5- (Chloromethyl)furfural

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an efficient synthesis of 2,5- dimethylfuran (DMF) from 5- (chloromethyl)furfural (CMF).

Green Production of Fuels and Plastics

The invention is a method for making plastics that is environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient. Utilizing this innovative technology, a relatively cheap hydrocarbon source is converted to a more useful and valuable plastic or fuel.

Novel Enzymes Enabling Microbial Fermentation of Sugar into Long Chain Alcohols

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a novel group of enzymes with the potential to facilitate production of energy dense alcohols for use in biofuel and chemical production.

Redirecting Cytosol Lipid Droplets for Enhanced Production

Background: Lipids (oils) produced by plants and photosynthetic microorganisms are used for general cooking, health food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and biodiesel. The current methods to produce oils with photosynthetic microorganisms are inefficient, since the cells must undergo extreme stress for lipid droplet (LD) accumulation and then be killed for extraction. Accumulation of LDs in the cytosol generates metabolic feedback inhibition. Some of these problems also apply to oil production with plants. A more efficient production practice is needed to meet high consumer and commercial demands.  Brief Description: UCR researchers have developed a method to optimize oil synthesis in microorganisms and plants by redirecting cytosolic LDs to the cell vacuoles. They successfully identified and modified a specific protein involved in directing lipids to various areas within the cell. Through restructuring and adding novel peptides, researchers were then able to re-route the fate of lipids into vacuoles (storage warehouses), thus eliminating metabolic feedback inhibition. Currently, they are also working towards achieving redirection of lipids to the cell exterior for excretion.

Thermal Devices for Controlling Heat Transfer

The technology is a heat transfer device. The key properties are a unidirectional heat flow, thin, sandwich structure, and a T-dependent thermal resistance. The technology functions via the heat pipe effect. The purpose of the technology is to provide a one-way heat flow in a compact form (in a thin layer) with T-dependent thermal resistance.

Novel Peptide Ligation Process Under Mild, Reagent-Free Conditions

A novel peptide ligation process and compound for preparing native peptide bonds under mild, aqueous, reagent-free conditions, with water and carbon dioxide as the only byproducts.

Novel Catalysts for Use in Direct Production of Sugar Acids and Sugar Oligomers from Cellulosic Biomass

A method of production of sugar oligosaccharides and sugar oligosaccharide adonic acids directly from inexpensive cellulosic biomass. Researchers have engineered a fungus that can directly produce sugar oligosaccharides and/or sugar oligosaccharide adonic acids from cellulose without any addition of exogenous cellulase. Sugar oligosccahride adonic acids are valuable chemicals numerous applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and chemical industries. Sugar oligosaccharides can be used as feedstock for further fuels and chemicals production.

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