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This paper attempts to find if metabolic engineering can be applied to more than one aspect of the biofuel production process and significantly reduce costs enough to make biofuels a viable replacement for petroleum. To explore this possibility, this paper analyzed three meta-analysis reviews on decreasing lignin in plant biomass, one meta-analysis on the prospects of changing the structure of lignin in plant biomass, two meta-analyses suggesting consolidated bioprocessing, and two experimental papers on increasing substrate range and efficiency. Based on these analyses, metabolic engineering can make biofuel production most cost effective by changing the biosynthetic pathways of the actual biomass to make it less lignin dense, to have more biomass, or to change the structure lignin to make it more easily broken down. It can also be achieved by altering the metabolic pathways of yeasts that convert cellulose in biomass to ethanol and other fuel sources. These findings show that it is possible to make lignocellulosic biofuel production less costly, but reveal that the extent of this cost reduction is largely unquantified and must be further researched to identify the viability of implementing these findings.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Chemical Engineering

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Faye Prichard


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

Using Metabolic Engineering to Make Cheaper Biofuels