Center for Advanced Biofuel Systems

With recent funding from the US Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Division, the Center for Advanced Biofuel Systems (CABS) was established at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC). The five year $15 million award is the largest competitive award DDPSC has received to date.

To increase the thermodynamic properties and kinetic efficiency of biofuel production systems (Algae and Camelina) using rational metabolic engineering approaches coupled with the expression of enhanced enzyme complexes Research Objectives.

The broad objectives of the Center for Advanced Biofuel Systems are to increase the efficiency of select plant- and algal-based reduced carbon (oil and specialty fuel) production systems using rational metabolic engineering approaches grounded in modern systems biology.

Our strategy is to develop integrated and optimized metabolic flux networks that increase the efficiency of solar energy conversion into oils and other Biofuel components.

This will be achieved by:
1. employing novel protein catalysts that increase the thermodynamic and kinetic efficiencies of photosynthesis and oil production.

2. engineering metabolic networks to enhance acetyl-CoA production and channeling towards neutral lipid synthesis.

3. engineering new metabolic networks for the production of hydrocarbons required to meet commercial fuel standards.
These strategies will be informed by comprehensive metabolic flux analyses of select algal and crop systems and computational modeling that will direct strategies for enhanced Biofuel production.

What distinguishes our approach from many others is that we integrate all aspects of metabolism, from light capture in photosynthesis through end product production.