A collaboration among experts at the Molecular Foundry, the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), and the Advanced Light Source has shown that the starting ingredients in an infinitely recyclable plastic known as poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, can be successfully made by microbes. The new approach shows that renewable, recyclable plastics are not only possible, but also outperform those from petrochemicals.
The supply of a plant-derived anti-cancer drug can finally meet global demand after a team of scientists from Denmark and the U.S. engineered yeast to produce the precursor molecules, which could previously only be obtained in trace concentrations in the native plant. A study describing the breakthrough was recently published in Nature. The international team included four researchers from the Biological Systems and Engineering Division: Leanne Jade G. Chan, Edward Baidoo, Christopher J. Petzold, and Jay D. Keasling.
A group of biofuel experts led by Berkeley Lab took inspiration from an extraordinary antifungal molecule made by Streptomyces bacteria to develop a totally new type of fuel that has projected energy density greater than the most advanced heavy-duty fuels used today, including the rocket fuels used by NASA.