Thursday, April 16, 2015


The inventors of --METABOLICALLY ENGINEERED METHANOTROPHIC, PHOTOTROPHIC MICROORGANISMS -- describe the use of modified Cyanobacteria to convert methane to valuable products.

From the specification:

[0004] Provided herein are recombinant phototrophic microorganisms, comprising one or more alkane oxidation genes whose expression results in oxidation of alkanes and assimilation of the resulting products into the central metabolic pathways in phototrophic organisms such as cyanobacteria. The one or more alkane oxidation genes can be an alkane monooxygenase, an alcohol dehydrogenase or an aldehyde assimilatory gene. The recombinant photosynthetic organism converts the entire feed of alkane into the targeted product because it uses sunlight to provide energy and oxygen needed for oxidation of alkanes. Having the ability to couple oxidation of alkanes such as methane with sunlight in the recombinant phototrophic organism and energy can allow molecules of interest (e.g., butanol) to be produced biologically from natural gas in an efficient and cost effective manner. Because the recombinant phototrophic organism converts alkanes into metabolic products that are natively part of central metabolic pathway of all living organisms, the recombinant photosynthetic microorganisms or organisms provided herein can be further genetically modified with previously known polypeptides in the art whose expression converts metabolites from central metabolic pathways into several molecules including, but not limited to, amino acids, alcohols, dicarboxylic acids, fatty acids, energy-dense molecules and other molecules useful in petrochemical, material and energy industries efficiently and at high levels. Production processes involving phototrophic microorganisms are carried out under moderate conditions, use simpler and potentially more selective reactions, and have the potential to be operationally implemented at different scales for economical production of energy-dense transportation fuels at different geographical locations. 

Published US application 20150104854 to 
Mogene LC
St. Louis


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