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Engineered Microbial Production of Grape Flavoring
(Image 1: Engineered bacteria that produce grape flavoring.) Researchers report a microbial method for producing an artificial grape flavor. Methyl anthranilate (MANT) is a common grape flavoring and odorant compound currently produced through a petroleum-based process that uses large volumes of toxic acid catalysts. Professor Sang-Yup Lee’s team at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering demonstrated production of MANT, a naturally occurring compound, via engineered bacteria. The authors engineered strains of Escherichia coli and Corynebacetrium glutamicum to produce MANT through a plant-based engineered metabolic pathway. The authors tuned the bacterial metabolic pathway by optimizing the levels of AAMT1, the key enzyme in the process. To maximize production of MANT, the authors tested six strategies, including increasing the supply of a precursor compound and enhancing the availability of a co-substrate. The most productive strategy proved to be a two-phase extractive culture, in which MANT was extracted into a solvent. This strategy produced MANT on the scale of 4.47 to 5.74 grams per liter, a significant amount, considering that engineered microbes produce most natural products at a scale of milligrams or micrograms per liter. According to the authors, the results suggest that MANT and other related molecules produced through industrial processes can be produced at scale by engineered microbes in a manner that would allow them to be marketed as natural one, instead of artificial one. This study, featured at the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA on May 13, was supported by the Technology Development Program to Solve Climate Changes on Systems Metabolic Engineering for Biorefineries from the Ministry of Science and ICT. (Image 2. Overview of the strategies applied for the microbial production of grape flavoring.)
First Female Grand Prize Awardee of Samsung Humantech
Yeunhee Huh, PhD candidate (Professor Gyu-Hyeong Cho) from the School of Electrical Engineering received the grand prize of the 24th Humantech Paper Award. She is the first female recipient of this prize since its establishment in 1994. The Humantech Paper Award is hosted by Samsung Electronics and sponsored by the Ministry of Science and ICT with JoongAng Daily Newspaper. Her paper is titled, ‘A Hybrid Structure Dual-Path Step-Down Converter with 96.2％ Peak Efficiency using 250mΩ Large-DCR Inductor’. Electronic devices require numerous chips and have a power converter to supply energy adequately. She proposed a new structure to enhance energy efficiency by combining inductors and capacitors. Enhancing energy efficiency can reduce energy loss, which prolongs battery hours and solves overheating of devices; for instance, energy loss leads to the overheating issue affecting phone chargers. This technology can be applied to various electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptops, and drones. Huh said, “Power has to go up in order to meet customers’ needs; however the overheating problem emerges during this process. This problem affects surrounding circuits and causes other issues, such as malfunctions of electronic devices. This technology may vary according to the conditions, but it can enhance energy efficiency up to 4%.”During the ceremony, about eight hundred million KRW worth cash prizes was conferred to 119 papers. KAIST (44 papers) and Gyeonggi Science High School (6 papers) received special awards given to the schools.
Professor Key-Sun Choi Receives the Order of Service Merit Green Stripes from the Korean Government
The award recognizes Professor Choi’s life-long research effort to make Korean language digitally available, both nationally and internationally. Professor Key-Sun Choi of the School of Computing at KAIST received the Order of Service Merit Green Stripes from the Korean government at the 569th Korean Language Day, held annually to commemorate the invention of the Korean language, Hangeul. The ceremony took place on October 9, 2015, at the Sejong Center in Seoul. Professor Choi has distinguished himself in the field of natural language processing (NLP), including Korean language. He developed a Korean NLP parser that enabled information processing and data analysis of Korean language, as well as a digital Korean dictionary, contributing to the advancement of Korean language-based information technology. Professor Choi also led the way to widespread use of Korean natural language in computing by developing and commercializing open source software to process the Korean language. He has served leading roles in many of the international academic societies and standardization organizations, among others, as the vice president of Infoterm (the International Information Center for Terminology), president of the Asia Federation of Natural Language Processing, vice chair of ISO/TC 37, a technical committee in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and a council member for the International Association of Machine Translation.
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