Ethanol feedstocks used for methyl halide production

By | June 03, 2009
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have published a paper titled "Synthesis of Methyl Halides from Biomass Using Engineered Microbes," which focuses on a process that uses a combination of bacteria and yeast to convert various ethanol feedstocks into methyl halide. The chemical can then be used in solvents, propellants, and soil fumigants and can be manufactured into gasoline and other chemicals using zeolite catalysts. Principle investigator and UCSF associate professor of pharmaceutical chemistry Christopher Voigt said the bacteria/yeast combination has successfully converted sugarcane bagasse, corn stover, switchgrass and poplar into methyl halide. Researchers are currently focused on improving yields and rates.