Microbial cell factories are excellent alternative for manufacturing bio-based chemicals including biofuel molecules. The advantage of microbial cell factories is that they can use low-value materials (agricultural waste) as a carbon source for growth and desired product synthesis. Thus, microbial cell factories have the potential to make a major contributions to the circular economy by extracting value from current waste streams. To this end the research group is exploiting synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches to develop yeast strains with a broad range of sugars (C5 and C6) utilisation capabilities and synthesising value-added compounds such as Xylitol, xylo-oligosaccharides, bio-alcohols and FAEE, fatty alcohols.
In any microbial cell factory substrates have to be taken up and the product exported (efflux system). The translocation of molecules across membranes requires the action of transporters. Membrane transporters are the gatekeepers of the cell controlling what is allowed in and out. We are elucidating the mechanism of substrate recognition and transport of foreign molecules by membrane bund transporters.