Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair(s)

Lance C. Seefeldt


Lance C. Seefeldt


Scott A. Ensign


Alvan C. Hengge


Sean J. Johnson


Bruce Bugbee


Efforts are being made to replace petroleum-derived fuels with biofuels in a cost competitive manner. It is apparent that the continued use of petroleum is futile as population and technological growth put increasing pressure on the demand for cheap energy and chemicals. Diminishing resources, civil unrest in the Middle East, and the impact of using petrochemicals on the environment are critical driving forces for research in generating renewable petroleum replacements that can be produced with a limited carbon-footprint. Today, biofuels are derived mostly from land-based plants, but their potential for displacing petroleum is limited due to the competition with available farmland used in food production as well as their relatively slow growth rates. Microorganisms as single-cell factories for the production of biofuels have a promising outlook since they do not compete with the food and feed supply and they lack the necessity of arable land used in cultivation. Viable biofuel production hinges upon obtaining sufficient biofuel yields, lowering the costs of processing, production of value-added products, and real-life evaluation of the produced fuels.

Herein, the current understanding of microbial biochemistry as well as new findings in the role of ATP citrate lyase in lipid accumulation in oleaginous yeasts will be discussed. Also, description of a novel two-step process that generates biodiesel blends from oleaginous microbes will be given. To facilitate the viability of microbial biofuel production, concomitant production of heterologous lactoferrin using Kluyveromyces lactis will be described. Lastly, the real-life evaluation of these microbial biofuels in a diesel engine is reported. The focus of this dissertation will be directed towards addressing the issues related to microbial biofuel production in order to facilitate the viability of biofuel production such that petroleum use can be displaced by more renewable and clean methodologies.



Included in

Biochemistry Commons