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(BBSRC DTP) Combined engineering approaches for increased 2,3-butanediol production

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Winterburn
    Prof C M Grant
    Dr Mark Ashe
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The transition to a low carbon, bio-based economy is dependent upon our ability to produce speciality and platform chemicals efficiently from microorganisms via industrial biotechnology. This multidisciplinary project will develop a novel, improved and holistically engineered process for the microbial production of 2,3- butanediol. 23BD is currently obtained via petrochemical processes and is an important platform chemical used for the production of methyl ethyl ketone, a solvent, and butadiene, which is in turn used in the production of synthetic rubber [1,2]. To address this challenge a joint synthetic biology and process engineering approach will be used to increase 23BD production by developing a scalable bioprocess. The research will focus on the following areas; 1 - Scalable bioreactor process design for 23BD production 2 - Strain modification based on measured bioreactor performance 3 - Process modelling and optimisation.

As a starting point this project will make use of previously developed 23BD producing S. cerevisiae strains [3], which divert carbon to 23BD via acetoin due to an accumulation of pyruvate and acetaldehyde and apply a rigorous bioprocessing approach and experience of bioprocess design based on modified S. cerevisiae strains [4,5] to test strain behaviour at in bioreactors and design a scalable fed batch/continuous 23BD production process.

The increased knowledge of bioprocess design optimisation arising from this project will be applicable to industrial biotechnology across a broad range of systems.

Funding Notes

This project is to be funded under the BBSRC Doctoral Training Programme. If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/bbsrc-dtp/.

Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.


1. Butanediols, Butenediol, and Butynediol (Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2000). 2. Celinska E Grajek W. 2009. Biotechnol Adv 27: 715. 3. Swidah R, Wang H, Reid PJ, Ahmed HZ, Pisanelli AM, Persaud KC, Grant CM, Ashe MP. 2015. Biotechnol Biofuels 8. 97. 4. Winterburn JB, Russell AB, Martin PJ. 2011. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 90: 911. 5. Winterburn JB, Russell AB, Martin PJ. 2011. Biochem Eng J 54: 132.

How good is research at University of Manchester in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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