Development of a Promising Methanotrophic Bacterium as an Industrial Biocatalyst
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Methane, the major component of natural gas, is a cheap and abundant source of energy. A significant amount of energy is wasted in the form of natural gas flaring. This mostly occurs in remote locations where transportation or conversion of methane is not economical. Methanotrophic bacteria are ubiquitous in nature, and have the unique capability of utilizing methane as the sole source of carbon and energy. These organisms have high potential in biotechnological application for converting methane into liquid fuels at the relatively small scale required for such remote locations. Presently however, knowledge gaps in methanotrophy stand in the way of developing an economically viable process for the biological catalysis of methane. In this work, we have focused the research efforts toward an industrially promising methanotrophic bacterium in 3 parts: (i) Baseline strain parameter characterization under varying growth conditions. (ii) Investigation of a hypothesized metabolism for excretion of high titers of organic acids. (iii) Exploratory transcriptomics data-analysis study involving copper (Cu), a key metal in methane oxidation.
- Chemical engineering