Qteros

Qteros has demonstrated that their Q Microbe® technology, under exclusive license from the University of Massachusetts, offers significant cost reductions by streamlining the biomass-conversion process to what is commonly referred to as "consolidated bio-processing" (CBP). The novel Q Microbe (Clostridium phytofermentans), was discovered by UMass Amherst microbiologists Professor Susan Leschine and Research Associate Thomas Warnick.

The integration of Q Microbe technology into a cellulosic biofuels and biochemical plant design allows producers to dramatically reduce the capital and operating costs associated with the biomass conversion process.  Traditional cellulosic biomass conversion processes require numerous production steps, including the addition of costly exogenous enzymes.  Using 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.

The Q Microbe technology offers important advantages over other microorganisms that can provide the operational foundation for profitable, commercial-scale production.  Qteros’ technology is unique and the company is on its way toward commercialization of a robust, low-cost CBP production platform.

The Q Microbe offers Qteros these technological advantages: 

  • natural production of all enzymes required to digest biomass into component sugars
  • ability to ferment polymeric forms of sugar resulting in decreased pretreatment costs and more efficient production
  • highly efficient fermentation of all major sugars present in biomass
  • production of a variety of fuel and chemical feedstock products produced by the microorganism's metabolism.

Qteros' CBP system not only enables a uniquely streamlined bio-production process, it also results in higher bio-product yields from a given amount of biomass material compared to other methods. To date, the Q Microbe has performed efficiently across 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.

These advantages improve the economics of bio-production by reducing capital and operating costs, making this microorganism ideally suited for large-scale production from a wide variety of non-food plant materials. Additionally, Qteros scientists and engineers continue to improve the performance of the microorganism through genetic modification and process optimization.

The relationship between Qteros and UMass is an excellent example of how industry and the university can work together to bring innovation to the marketplace.