WARF Technologies

You can also view all of our technologies on the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) website »

GLBRC's Technologies


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Center, we are positioned to make key discoveries and major advances that will lead to breakthrough technologies for eventual large-scale conversion of biomass into fuels. Each new invention, patent and license listed here represents another step toward that goal.

GLBRC is seeking commercial partners interested in developing the following technologies.

Modified E. coli for Enhanced Production of Pyruvate, Ethanol

Jennifer Reed, Xiaolin Zhang

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Pyruvate is a starting material for synthesizing a variety of biofuels and chemicals. It can be readily converted into more than 60 commercial chemicals, including ethanol and several active pharmaceutical ingredients. Pyruvate is also an important component in many food additives, weight loss agents and antiaging skin treatments.

Industrial methods...

High-Throughput Genome Editing and Engineering of Industrial Yeast, Other Fungi

Chris Hittinger, William Alexander

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As the industrial uses of yeast and other fungi expand, new systems are needed to genetically optimize strains for their intended use. In particular, the ability to manipulate prototrophic and diploid strains is critical for applications in the brewing and biofuels industry where the strains favored by lab researchers are...

Modified Yeast with Enhanced Tolerance for GVL Biomass Solvent

Jeff Piotrowski, Trey Sato, Chad Myers

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Gamma-valerolactone (GVL) is an inexpensive solvent derived from biomass that can be used to break apart tough lignocellulose into fermentable sugars including xylose and glucose. GVL-based techniques are a potentially transformative breakthrough in biofuel production (for more information see WARF reference number P130123US01).

Problematically, residual levels of GVL found in...

Bio-Based Production of Non-Straight-Chain and Oxygenated Fatty Acids for Fuels and More

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Fatty acids generally can be classified as straight-chain or non-straight-chain. Non-straight-chain fatty acids are less abundant and highly valued in dietary supplements, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fuel additives, specialty chemicals and many other products.

At present there is no process for producing non-straight-chain fatty acids at commercially relevant levels. The identification of...

Natural Antimicrobial Agent Derived from Biomass

Jeff Piotrowski, John Ralph, Fachuang Lu, Mehdi Kabbage, Robert Landick

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Fungal pathogens pose one of the greatest economic threats to agriculture. Every year fungal infections – such as root rot, smut and powdery mildew – destroy about 125 million tons of the top five food crops globally. One pest, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is responsible for a disease called white mold and...

Enhanced Stability Wrinkled1 For High Oil Production

John Ohlrogge, Christoph Benning, Wei Ma, Que Kong

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Plant oils, primarily seed oils, are major agricultural commodities.  The world consumption of plant oils in 2013 was 165 million tonnes, which represents an increase of 100 million tonnes since 1995.  The majority of vegetable oils are produced from just four crops, oil palm, soybeans, rapeseed, and sunflower, which together...

Patent application submitted

Cloning of a BAHD Acyltransferase That Synthesizes Coniferyl Ferulate

Curtis Wilkerson, John Ralph, Saunia Withers, Shawn Mansfield

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Lignin, an abundant polymer of vascular plants that provides structural integrity and resistance to chemical and enzymatic damage to the plant cell wall, is the second most abundant polymer on earth and critical to the strength and survival of terrestrial plants. Unfortunately, its mechanical strength and resistance to chemical degradation,...

Patent application submitted

Modified Yeast to Boost Biofuel Yields

Trey Sato, Jeff Piotrowski

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Producing biofuel on an industrial scale requires efficient fermentation of cellulosic plant material. Glucose and xylose are two of the most abundant sugars found in biomass. The yeast most commonly used for fermentation – Saccharomyces cerevisiae – can ferment glucose but not xylose.

Researchers hope to improve fermentation by identifying/mutating...

Patent application submitted

Better Biomass Conversion with Recyclable GVL Solvent

James Dumesic, Jeremy Luterbacher

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To recover useful carbohydrates locked in biomass, molecular bonds must be broken while avoiding further reaction of the resulting glucose and xylose sugars. This is a challenge because glucose can degrade quicker than it is produced. Fast, hot reactions try to minimize such degradation, but are impractical. Expensive catalysts and...

Patent application submitted

Transgenic Lignin Easier to Break Down for Biofuel

John Ralph, Curtis Wilkerson, Saunia Withers, Shawn Mansfield

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Lignocellulosic biomass is a very desirable feedstock for biofuel production. If the fermentation process could be optimized, conversion of this biomass could yield 25 to 50 billion gallons of ethanol or other biofuels per year.

Yet lignocellulose is composed of tough lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses that resist breakdown. This limits...

Patent application submitted