Electrons to Molecules by Engineering and Evolution: Biological Upgrading of Formate by Cupriavidus necator

Chris Calvey, Chris Johnson, Violeta Sanchez i Nogue, Carrie Eckert, Aleena White, Lucas Friedberg, Colin Kneucker, Kelsey Ramiresz, Sean Woodworth, Stephan Haugen, Hannah Alt, Michelle Reed, Ian Rowe, Chenlin Li

Research output: NRELPresentation


Waste carbon from industrial point sources can be captured, stored, and/or transformed using electrochemical conversion or "electrons to molecules" technologies using low-cost renewable electricity. One such process involves electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 to generate formate/formic acid, a C1 carboxylic acid. Formate is a promising potential feedstock for microbial upgrading, as it is water soluble and can be consumed as the sole source of carbon and energy by some microbial species, such as the soil bacterium Cupriavidus necator. Here we will present progress toward improving C. necator as a host for biological conversion of formate to value-added products. Using the power of adaptive laboratory evolution, we were able to isolate mutants of C. necator with significantly faster growth rates on formate. We then sequenced the genomes of these strains, elucidated the metabolic role of the mutations we found, and then used these insights to build rationally engineered strains that outperform even the best evolved isolates. These results highlight the utility of "genome streamlining" as a route for generating platform strains with potential industrial applications.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology Annual Meeting, 30 July - 2 August 2023, Minneapolis, Minnesota

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2700-87076


  • adaptive laboratory evolution
  • cupriavidus necator H16
  • electrons to molecules
  • formate
  • formic acid
  • genome minimization
  • metabolic engineering
  • quorum sensing


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrons to Molecules by Engineering and Evolution: Biological Upgrading of Formate by Cupriavidus necator'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this