Bio-Based Isobutanol

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  • Isobutanol (IUPAC nomencature: 2-methyl-1-propanol) is an organic compound with the formula (CH3)2CHCH2OH. This colorless, flammable liquid with a characteristic smell is mainly used as a solvent. Its isomers include n-butanol, 2-butanol, and tert-butanol, all of which are more important industrially.
  • Isobutanol is produced by the carbonylation of propylene.  Two methods are practiced industrially, hydroformylation is more common and generates a mixture of normal and isobutyraldehydes, which are hydrogenated to the alcohols and then separated. Reppe carbonylation is also practiced.
  • Isobutanol is also produced naturally during the fermentation of carbohydrates and may also be a byproduct of the decay process of organic matter.
  •  Isobutanol, along with other low molecular weight alcohols can also produced by some engineered microorganisms such as corynebacterium. A genetically engineered strain of the bacterium Clostridium cellulolyticum converted cellulose to isobutanol via isobutyraldehyde.
  • Biobased isobutanol has emerged as a frontrunner in the race to end the United States’ dependency on petroleum because it is a drop in replacement for a variety of products. It can be sold in the marketplace as both a solvent chemical and a fuel blendstock, or it can be converted into four carbon building blocks called butenes, which can be used to make 40 percent of all petrochemicals.
  • Bio-based isobutanol is an ideal substitute for petroleum and several other products. It can be used as a fuel blend stock or as a solvent chemical.
  • We have discovered a set of genotypic adaptations that confer increased tolerance to isobutanol stress.
  •  Our results are immediately useful to further efforts to engineer more isobutanol tolerant hoststrains of E.coli for isobutanol production.
  •  We suggest that rpoS and post-transcriptional regulators, such as hfq, RNA helicases, and sRNAs may be interesting mutagenesis targets for future global phenotype engineering.

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