Synthetic Biology Research Centre

The SBRC - Nottingham has a dedicated floor in the flagship research building: The Centre for Biomolecular Sciences on the University Park campus. This £40 million multidisciplinary research facility is the home of the SBRC and the focus of SynBio activity at Nottingham.

The Centre is physically located within the science and engineering hub on the University Park campus with mechanisms in place for researchers based on other Campuses to spend dedicated time within the team. There are excellent links to the School of Computer Sciences and biologists located in the School of Biosciences at our Sutton Bonington Campus.

The SBRC has a wealth of dedicated new equipment, bespoke facilities, cohorts of PhD studentships and many existing international research and industry connections.

The Synthetic Biology Research Centre at The University of Nottingham is funded by The Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

THE AIM: SBRC Nottingham focuses on the sustainable and economically viable production of platform/speciality chemicals through SynBio-engineered, gas fermenting microbes capable of using single carbon (C1) feedstocks. 

THE NEED: Much current attention is focused on deriving microbial production chassis for the sustainable production of chemicals and fuels. Until now, the emphasis has been on lignocellulosic fermentative processes that use non-food plant biomass. However, developing economic processes that efficiently convert plant material into the necessary sugar feedstock is proving challenging. 

THE SOLUTION: Nottingham's ground-breaking alternative approach is to use gas-fermenting microbes that are able to grow on C1 gases, such as CO and CO2. These may be derived from non-food sources such as waste gases from industry (e.g., steel manufacturing, oil refining, coal and natural/shale gas) as well as 'synthesis gas' (CO & H2) produced from sustainable resources, such as biomass and domestic/ agricultural wastes. This enables a wide range of valuable advanced fuels and chemicals to be produced in any industrialized geography without consumption of valuable food or land resources. 

THE GOALS: Nottingham has a strong track record of research activity on anaerobic gas fermenting chassis and has been working with LanzaTech, Evonik, Lanxess and, through CPI, to a wider network of industrial companies. Building on this activity, the major SBRC thrust is to develop a chassis for aerobic gas fermentations and to use it to implement pathways for chemicals that are more favourably produced in a respiring organism. 

THE OUTPUTS: By way of examples, ethylene, propylene, iso-butene, butadiene and isoprene make ideal nodes within the chemical network as their volatile nature simplifies extraction, they have huge industry demand and they provide the basis for a wide range of valuable downstream products such as fuels, tyres, high tech performance polymers/ coatings and personal care products and pharmaceuticals.

Capability Statement

We have drawn together all our strands of research related to industrial biotechnology into one document:

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The UoN Industrial Biotechnology Capability Statement