Qteros & UMass Amherst Get US Patent for Q Microbe

Qteros Inc. and University of Massachusetts, Amherst announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued them a U.S. Patent titled “Systems and Methods for Producing Biofuels and Related Materials.” The patent describes the creation of products, including biofuels, through the fermentation of biomass by a naturally-occurring anaerobic microorganism.

The patent is based on the Q Microbe (Clostridium phytofermentans) developed by UMass Amherst microbiologists Professor Susan Leschine and Research Associate Thomas Warnick. Qteros, the exclusive licensee of the patent, said that the Q Microbe technology reduces the cost of producing ethanol by streamlining the biomass-conversion process, commonly referred to as consolidated bio-processing (CBP).

“While traditional cellulosic ethanol processes require numerous production steps, including the addition of costly exogenous enzymes, use of the Q Microbe lowers costs by simultaneously hydrolyzing polysaccharides into simple sugars and fermenting all of these sugars into desirable products in a single-tank operation,” said Kevin Gray, PhD, senior vice president and CTO at Qteros.

The microbe produces all enzymes required to digest biomass into its component sugars and the ability to ferment polymeric forms of sugar resulting in decreased pretreatment costs. To date, the Q Microbe has been used on a broad range of feedstocks that include wheat straw, sugar cane bagasse, energy crops such as switchgrass and agricultural residues such as corn stover, cob and fiber.

RenewableEnergyWorld.com’s Graham Jesmer caught up with Qteros CEO John McCarthy to talk about the Q-Microbe technology and the experience McCarthy has in the bioenergy insdusty and how he expects it to transfer to Qteros. Play the video below to hear more.

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