QTEROS is Marlborough, Massachusetts, United States based cellulosic ethanol producer company. It is applying ‘Consolidated bioprocessing’ to produce ethanol through its proprietary ‘biomass to cellulosic ethanol’ conversion process which is based on its patented ‘Q Microbe®’. The company is in its early-stage.
QTEROS is focusing on biomass feedstock such as wet distillers grains and sugar cane bagasse. Although a broad range of biomass such as agricultural residues including corn stover, corncob, and wheat straw and energy crops have been found suitable for QTEROS’s consolidated bioprocessing.
Consolidated Bioprocessing: Q Microbes
Consolidated bioprocessing aims to combine the various steps of ethanol production from lignocelluloses into one step. It attempts the production of lignocellulose hydrolyzing enzymes, breakdown of the complex carbohydrates of the pretreated biomass into simple sugars (saccharification) and fermentation of released hexose and pentose sugars into ethanol in one pot as much as possible.
QTEROS uses its patented naturally occurring ‘Q Microbe®’ to do the biomass to ethanol conversion. The scientific name of the Q Microbe® is Clostridium phytofermentans. It was discovered in 1996 by microbiologist Dr. Susan Leschine and her lab assistant Tom Warnick of University of Massachusetts near the Quabbin Reservoir in Western Massachusetts. Q Microbe is able to express the enzymes required for the extraction of fermentable sugars from biomass and directly converting fermentable sugars such as cellulose, xylan, pectin, and starch to its primary byproduct ethanol.
The company is developing its “Q Microbe” as a licensable key technology for consolidated bioprocessing. Their research now focuses on identifying and optimizing the best biomass materials for Q Microbe and the enhancement of the strain through genetic engineering. They are attempting to pilot its technology to bring it to the market.
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