Hydrocarbon Decarboxylase Enzyme

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Hydrocarbons are compounds found everywhere in nature.  The surface waxes of plants and insects contain very-long chain, non-isoprenoid hydrocarbons.  Long-chain hydrocarbons of insects play central roles in waterproofing the insect cuticle and function extensively in chemical communication where relatively non-volatile chemicals are required. The recognition of the roles that hydrocarbons serve as sex pheromones, kairomones, species and gender recognition cues, nest mate recognition, dominance and fertility cues, chemical mimicry, primer pheromones, etc. has resulted in an explosion of new information in this area.



Our researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have discovered novel methods of producing hydrocarbons.  Polypeptides that are cytochrome P450 enzymes have hydrocarbon forming oxidative decarbonylase activity. Cells that are transformed with nucleic acid sequences that encode one or more of these enzymes can be used as a source for hydrocarbons.  Thus, this discovery can be used for the production of a wide range of products, such as hydrocarbon sex-pheromone components for Musca domestica control, biofuels, lubricants, or solvents.



  • Our technology has many uses including:
    • The production of hydrocarbons as biofuels, either in vitro, or by inserting the isolated disclosed sequences into an organism in order to increase the hydrocarbon content for production of fuel, lubricant, solvent, etc.
    • The production of synthetic hydrocarbon sex-pheromone components for Musca domestica control


Related Documents

•       Patent 8,445,248: Hydrocarbon-Forming Oxidative Decarbonylase Enzyme, Hydrocarbons Produced Thereby, and Method of Use





Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shannon Sheehan
Manager, Technology Commercialization
University of Nevada, Reno
Claus Tittiger
Gary Blomquist
Sharon Young
Jeffrey Harper
David Shintani