Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Andrew Jones co-authored a manuscript published recently in the journal Metabolic Engineering. “Engineering the biological conversion of methanol to specialty chemicals in Escherichia coli” presents the results of research Jones participated in while working toward his Ph.D.
The goal of the work is to enable the production of high-value and value-added products from inexpensive and widely available single carbon feedstocks such as methanol and methane.
Jones, along with his colleagues at the University of Delaware and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, engineered the common bacteria Escherichia coli to use methanol as food. The researchers were able to show the production of the flavonoid natural product naringenin from methanol, demonstrating the first example of in vivo conversion of methanol into a specialty chemical in E. coli.
Jones noted, “We have a long way to go before this is industrially feasible, but this is an exciting first step.”
The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy) Program.