Metabolic engineering of thermophilic bacilli to produce lactate out of C1 renewable feedstocks

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable feedstocks to produce commodities becomes an urgent matter to face global warming. This project aims to produce the platform chemical lactate from renewable C1 feedstocks using thermophilic bacilli.


Global warming is a hazard that puts natural ecosystems and human communities in jeopardy. Our linear economy results in emission of atmospheric CO2, together with other greenhouse gasses, through the burning of fossil-based fuels and chemicals. Transition to a circular economy based on renewable feedstocks to produce chemical commodities, fuels and materials becomes an urgent matter. Furthermore, using waste products to produce new commodities is an interesting approach to reduce pollution and lower the use of fossil feedstocks. In this way, the usage of atmospheric CO2 to produce chemical commodities would help to “close the loop” of the carbon cycle, realizing a true carbon circular economy. Recently, it was discovered how CO2 can be efficiently converted into non-gaseous and water soluble C1 feedstocks by electrochemical means. These renewable C1 feedstocks have potential to be further bioconverted into valuable products, such as platform chemicals or fuels, which otherwise would be produced out of fossil feedstocks.


This project aims to use microorganisms to engineer a bioprocess in which renewable C1 feedstocks are converted into the platform chemical lactate. More specifically, we aim to metabolic engineer thermophilic bacilli for this purpose. Because of their ability to grow at high temperatures, using thermophilic hosts would reduce the need for cooling systems during the industrial process.

Selected pathways which can operate on e.g., methanol, formaldehyde or formate will be expressed in thermophilic hosts, which at the same time will be engineered to produce lactate. Genetic engineering tools and laboratory evolution will be used to drive this process. mechanisms.