Research Groups

Microbial Engineering

Research Interests and Description

Group Leader: Syed Shams Yazdani, PhD

Group Members

Link to DBT-ICGEB Bioenergy Centre

Research Interests

Metabolic engineering, cellulolytic enzymes, biofuels.

Description of Research

Discovery and design of novel enzymes and enzyme systems for biofuels In our effort to develop cost effective process to produce second generation biofuels, we are isolating novel enzymes with higher specificities towards cellulosic biomass. We have identified novel cellulase and xylanase enzymes from bacteria isolated from mid-gut of insects living on agricultural biomass and overexpressed them in E. coli for use in saccharification process. Based on structural modelling, we have synthesized two chimeric bifuctional enzymes, one with the fusion between endocellulase and xylanase and second with the fusion between endocellulase and beta-glucosidase. Both these bifuctional enzymes were shown to be equal or more effective than their individual counterparts. We are now developing metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and metaproteomic techniques to identify new cellulolytic enzymes from gut microbes.

Engineering bacteria to produce biofuel We are working on production of bioethanol from pre-treated lignocellulosic biomass with the help of metabolic engineering and system biology approaches to bring down costs. We are secreting various cellulytic enzymes in E. coli to enable it to utilize pretreated lignocellulosic biomass. In order to produce high level of ethanol using metabolic engineering tools, we are engineering E. coli to enhance bioethanol yield by blocking side pathways that produce competing co-products and by providing an alternate pathway that can fulfil NADH requirement for homo-ethanol production. By optimizing the expression of native pathway and without using any foreign gene, we show production of ethanol with high yield and productivity. In addition, we have identified few natural bacteria from guts of insect (living on plants) that degrade lignocellulosic biomass with high efficiency and are exploring the possibility of engineering these bacteria to produce bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. The development of an integrated biocatalyst that can perform both functions, i.e., conversion of complex cellulose and hemicellulose into monomeric sugar molecules and fermentation of monomeric sugar into biothanol, is likely to bring down the production cost of lignocellulosic ethanol considerably. We are also engineering laboratory bacteria that can produce butanol and alkane/alkene from agricultural biomass.

Recent Publications

Ogunmolu, F.E., Kaur, I., Gupta, M., Bashir, Z., Pasari, N., Yazdani, S,S. 2015. Proteomics Insights Into The Biomass Hydrolysis Potentials of a Hypercellulolytic Fungus Penicillium funiculosum. J. Proteome Res. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00542 Link to article

Chitnis, C.E., Mukherjee, P., Mehta, S., Yazdani, S.S., Dhawan, S., Shakri, A.R., Bharadwaj, R., Gupta, P.K., Hans, D., Mazumdar, S., Singh, B., Kumar, S., Pandey, G., Parulekar, V., Imbault, N., Shivyogi, P., Godbole, G., Mohan, K., Leroy, O., Singh, K., Chauhan, V.S. 2015. Phase I Clinical Trial of a Recombinant Blood Stage Vaccine Candidate for Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Based on MSP1 and EBA175. PLoS One. 10(4):e0117820 Link to article

Shakeel, T., Fatma, Z., Fatma, T., Yazdani, S.S. 2015. Heterogeneity of alkane chain length in freshwater and marine cyanobacteria. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 16, 3-34 Link to article

Munjal, N., Jawed, K., Wajid, S., Yazdani, S.S. 2015. A Constitutive Expression System for Cellulase Secretion in Escherichia coli and Its Use in Bioethanol Production. PLoS One 10(3):e0119917 PubMed link

Adlakha, N., Yazdani, S.S. 2015. Efficient production of (R,R)-2,3-butanediol fromcellulosic hydrolysate using Paenibacillus polymyxa ICGEB2008. JIMB. 42, 21-8 Link

Singh, R., Mattam, A.J., Jutur, P.P., Yazdani, S.S. 2015. Synthetic Biology in Biofuels Production. Advances in Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine: Synthetic Biology. edited by R.A. Meyers. Vol. II Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co., pp. 665-698 Link to text


Yazdani, S.S., Mattam, A.J. 2013. Engineering E. coli strain for conversion of short chain fatty aids to bioalcohols. Indian Patent Application No. 2651/DEL/2013 Link

Yazdani, S.S., Munjal, N., Mattam, A.J. 2013. Modified bacteria for the production of bioalcohols. International Application No. WO2014033759A1 Link

Yazdani SS, Adlakha N. 2012. Novel cellulolytic enzymes and their chimera for hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass. Indian Patent Application No. 2695/DEL/2012 Link

Yazdani, S.S., Munjal, N., Mattam, A.J. 2012 Modified bacteria for the production of bioalcohols. Indian Patent Application No. 2696/DEL/2012 Link

ICGEB New Delhi

ICGEB Campus
Aruna Asaf Ali Marg
110 067 New Delhi
Tel: +91-11-26741358
Fax: +91-11-26742316




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