Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Robert Frank Standaert

Committee Members

Dane William Scott, Marina Vitalyevna Roginskaya


To reduce reliance on fossil fuels, sustainable biofuels are being pursued, especially advanced biofuels like 1-butanol that have higher energy content and greater compatibility with existing infrastructure than ethanol. A persistent challenge is the yield-limiting toxicity of biofuels and process solvents, such as tetrahydrofuran, to the microbes that ferment biomass into biofuel. The cell membrane is a focal point of toxicity, and understanding how it interacts with fuels and solvents is key to improving yield. Phospholipid bilayers are the core of biomembranes, and model biomembranes of defined composition provide the ideal platform for biophysical studies. To this end, glycerophospholipids characteristic of Bacillus subtilis, a model producer organism, were synthesized. Two fatty acids (iso- and anteisopentadecanoic acids) characteristic of Bacilli were synthesized and incorporated into representative phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylglycerol lipids. The validated synthetic approach opens the door to future studies on the interaction of biofuels and solvents with biomembranes.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.