Brazil-UK Workshop 2019

Sustainable Chemicals and Fuels through Synthetic Biology

For 3 days in May (28 -30 May 2019) Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materials (CNPEM), Campinas/SP, Brazil  became home for this 100 strong, international workshop on “Sustainable Chemicals and Fuels through Synthetic Biology”. 


Working with Director Eduardo do Couto e Silva and Scientific Director Mario T. Murakami, SBRC-Nottingham invited 30 world experts to review and debate the future of chemical and fuel production in a changing world to an audience of more than 70 working scientists from CNPEM and the UK-BR Year of Science and Innovation Programme Lead from the British Consulate in São Paulo, Rui Lopes.   

Synthetic Biology potentially has a major role to play in replacing fossil fuels through the engineering of microbial strains (chassis) that are better able to directly convert lignocellulosic biomass, or derivative feedstocks such as sugar-rich hydrolysates or synthesis gas, into a more comprehensive array of products in processes that minimise, or even eliminate, CO2  production. 


Colin Miles




Nigel Minton and Eduardo do Couto e Silva




The objective of this workshop was to explore the numerous options available, ranging from: 

  • microbial chassis available for manufacturing processes;
  • most attractive chemical and fuel options;
  • consideration of the most effective lignocellulose-derived feedstock;
  • identity of the most efficient strategy for minimising CO2 production.

The three-day workshop drew together leading UK and Brazilian synthetic biologists and industrial biotechnologists from both academia and industry. 

To broaden the pool of expertise, participants were invited from Argentina and the USA.

Through the participation of relevant funding agencies (e.g., BBSRC, FAPESP, and CONICET) from the UK, Brazil and Argentina respectively the intention was to formulate a strategy for programmes of work that could form the basis of future funding calls.

Featured Talks from SBRC-Nottingham Delegates

  • Professor Nigel Minton "CRISPR/Cas9, TraDISand orthogonal expression systems"
  • Professor Philippe Soucaille "Increased butanol productivity through systems & synthetic biology"
  • Dr Klaus Winzer "Metabolic engineeringof Cupriavidus necator H16 for the sustainable production of 3-Hydroxyproprionic acid from CO2"
  • Dr Ying Zhang "Metabolic engineeringof Geobacillus thermoglucosidasiusbacilli for the production of chemicalsand fuels"
  • Dr Katlin Kovacs Engineered microbial factories for CO2 exploitation in an integrated waste treatment platform.

More details: CNPEM