BETO Announces R&D Collaborations to Address Challenges in Biomanufacturing
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) recently announced the selection of five external collaborations totaling over $3.7 million to conduct research and development (R&D) needed to accelerate the U.S. biomanufacturing sector. Working with scientists at the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) consortium, these industry and academic groups will leverage national laboratory capabilities to address challenges in biomanufacturing. The projects include:
- University of California, Berkeley will address the pressing need for a scalable method for double-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) production for agricultural pesticide applications, employing microbial strain engineering and fermentation scale-up;
- Birch Biosciences will develop improved technologies that enable engineering of high-performance enzymes for economical and sustainable plastic recycling;
- Kiverdi will develop a platform for sequestering carbon dioxide to produce secreted recombinant proteins;
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln will expand the synthetic biology biosensor toolkit for Methanosarcina, a promising archaeal host organism that can be used to create fuels and renewable chemicals; and
- Azolla will leverage ABF’s capabilities to engineer a bacterium capable of using sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce nanocellulosic fiber to replace current unsustainable production practices in the textile industry.
The selected projects all directly contribute to producing renewable biofuels and biobased chemicals and materials. They also help ABF build foundational technologies critical for the decarbonization of the industrial and transportation sectors. Funded by BETO, ABF aims to advance biomanufacturing by uniting and expanding the capabilities of the national laboratories.