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Commercially-Valuable Secondary Metabolite Production Using Hyperthermophiles and Agricultural Waste as a Feedstock

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Principal Investigator/Project Leader: 
Department of Project: 
Department of Microbiology
Project Description: 

In an effort to reduce dependence on petroleum, promote economic growth and diversification, and reduce human-induced climate change, the United States has developed a strategy that includes bio-based production of energy and compounds that can be used as precursors for industrial processes. It has been suggested that microorganisms with differing physiological capacities may provide an opportunity to generate commercially valuable products in a more sustainable, commercially viable manner. As marine hydrothermal vents harbor some of the most chemo- and thermotolerant microorganisms known, they have caught the attention of scientists and industrialists alike to fulfill these goals. While generating biofuels and industrial precursors from vent microbes is attractive, there are, nonetheless, key issues that need to be addressed prior to commercial implementation. These include modeling of cell growth, metabolite production rates, and product yields on various feedstocks using a variety of target organisms that can perform the bioprocess.