Brewing high-value chemicals using yeast fueled by light-harvesting nanoparticles

November 15, 2018

A genetically programable strain of yeast powered by light-harvesting nanoparticles can make high-value chemicals from simple and renewable carbon sources, according to a new report. The semiconductor-microbe hybrid enables notably high carbon conversion by overcoming existing limitations in bioinorganic systems. Its structure offers a new foundation for the future design of biohybrid microbes capable of efficient, adaptable biomanufacturing of a greater array of molecules. Microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi are commonly used in industrial biomanufacturing based largely on their rapid proliferation and ability to convert carbon sources such as sugar into a variety of high-value organic molecules. By genetically tweaking their metabolic processes, researchers transform such organism's into manufacturing workhorses. Biohybrid systems - which combine the light-harvesting abilities of inorganic systems with the biosynthetic capabilities of living cells - offer a promising method for producing high-value chemicals. Existing microbial hybrid systems, however, are based largely on autotrophic bacteria, which generally produce a limited range of simple chemical products when compared to the more flexible heterotrophic microbes. Heterotrophs require organic sources of carbon-based "fuel," like sugar, to regenerate cellular NADPH, a coenzyme that drives metabolic processes. This requirement has been a persistent challenge towards developing efficient "cell factories." Junling Guo and colleagues present a highly modular bioinorganic hybrid platform based on heterotrophic Saccharomyces cerevisiae - baker's yeast - which is widely used in biomanufacturing. In this study, Guo et al. coated a genetically modified strain of this yeast in inorganic, nanoparticle semiconductors. The bioinorganic yeast system harvests energy from light absorbed by constituent light-sensitive nanoparticles. This energy is transferred to the living cell and used to regenerate the NADPH required for biosynthetic reactions.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Bacteria Articles from Brightsurf:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.

How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.

Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.

Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.

Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.

How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.

The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.

Read More: Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.