Section: Application Domains

Alternative fuels and bioconversion

Oleaginous yeasts are capable of synthesizing lipids from different substrates other than glucose, and current research is attempting to understand this conversions with the goal of optimizing their throughput, production and quality. From a genomic standpoint the objective is to characterize genes involved in the biosynthesis of precursor molecules which will be transformed into fuels, which are thus not derived from petroleum. Biological experimentation by partner laboratories study lipid accumulation the oleaginous yeasts such as Yarrowia lipolytica starting from:

  • pentoses, produced from lignin cellulose agricultural substrates following a biorefining strategy,

  • glycerol, a secondary output of chemical production of biodiesel, and

  • industrial residues.

Lipases from Y. lipolytica are of particular interest (see [38] for review). Experimental characterization of the lipid bodies produced from these substrates will aid in the identification of target genes which may serve for genetic engineering. This in turn requires the development of molecular tools for this class of yeasts with strong industrial potential. Magnome 's focus is in acquiring genome sequences, predicting genes using models learned from genome comparison and sequencing of cDNA transcripts, and comparative annotation. Our overall goal is to define dynamic models that can be used to predict the behavior of modified strains and thus drive selection and genetic engineering.