Metabolomics for a Low Carbon Society

NSF Program  Projects funded through this program collectively addressed and are addressing challenges within and applications of metabolomics research. Following on from this, the current research coordination network (RCN) was created to guide forthcoming challenge identification in this research area. See more details on research areas below and on the RCN at this link.

Lloyd W. Sumner  University of Missouri
CoPIs  Basil Nikolau and Richard Dixon
JST collaborator  Kazuki Saito  RIKEN Plant Science Center

This project will improve methods to identify metabolites used by photosynthetic algae to produce biofuel–information that will be used to boost the manufacturing of biofuel. Project activities include advancing techniques in mass spectrometry–a method used to estimate the mass of molecules–and developing a new, integrated mass spectrometry database that will be freely

Oliver Fiehn  University of California at Davis
CoPIs Jean S. VanderGheynstJohn Labavitch, and Tobias Kind
JST collaborator  Masanori Arita  University of Tokyo

This project will focus on the improvement of methods in metabolite identification. Specific questions will focus on metabolites utilized by photosynthesis algae to produce biofuel, which will eventually inform manufacturing of biofuel. The focus also includes development of an integrated mass spectrometry database that will be available to the broader research community.

James Liao  University of California, Los Angeles
CoPI William Wikoff
JST collaborator  Eiichiro Fukusaki  Osaka University

The biofuel known as butanol–which can be produced by fermentation processes involving bacteria and yeast–provides particular promise because it can be used to fuel cars. Through this study, photosynthetic bacteria will be genetically engineered to maximize butanol production based on comprehensive metabolic analyses of bacteria and yeast and on computational modeling.

Georg Jander  Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in New York
CoPIs Alisa Huffaker and Eric Schmeltz
JST collaborator  Yutaka Okumoto  Kyoto University

Up to 30 percent of agricultural productivity is lost to insects and disease. Moreover, production costs soar every time a tractor drives over a field to apply pesticides. This project will help reduce such losses and costs by supporting the development of technologies that will better define natural disease-fighting processes in plants. As part of this effort, protective metabolites that stop attacks by insects and other disease-causing organisms in plants and genes responsible for producing these metabolites will be identified.