Pathway to Synthetic Isobutene from Biomass

Proof of concept for bioprocess generating gaseous hydrocarbons

Global Bioenergies, located on the Genopole campus close to Paris, has announced the proof-of-concept of a synthetic metabolic pathway for producing isobutene, a key building block that can be converted into transportation fuels, polymers and various commodity chemicals.

Macha Anissimova, Head of Research, said “We are very proud to have reached this key milestone in advance on schedule. We have benefited from the assistance of Genoscope and of the analytical chemistry platform of Evry-Val d’Essonne University. The bioproduction of a gaseous hydrocarbon will make it possible to obtain pure products at high yield and low cost”.

According to Prof. Dieter Söll (Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA), “The data on isobutene formation presented by Global Bioenergies are convincing, and I am now impatient to see the process optimized and scaled up.” “Development of such an artificial metabolic pathway represents a signal accomplishment with enormous implications. Standard technologies for enzyme and metabolic engineering can now be applied to transform this proof of concept into a viable industrial process”, added Prof. Donald Hilvert (ETH Zürich, Switzerland).

Marc Delcourt, cofounder and CEO of the company concludes: “We are now focusing on industrializing the process, which will be financed through a second round currently in preparation.”


Global Bioenergies, press release, 2009-10-13.


Global Bioenergies