About

2022/05/05


sun setting over wheat field

We do not have time to dither.

Our planet is not what it was when we were children. Human activity has had a drastic impact on climate and the environment. The changes are coming faster and they cost us more every day.

Our reliance on petroleum got us here, and it is not going to get us out.

Petroleum set us apart.

Humans tapped the petroleum reserves, but the rest of the planet’s lifeforms use biomass. We need to rejoin that carbon economy. The dirt under our feet is a thriving market, but we are locked out.

Bacteria are particularly skilled in the conversion of biomass to chemicals, and they already control our ecosystem. They produce at least half of the world’s oxygen. They provide nitrogen for the world’s plants. They break down the carbon in our wastes. When humans emit non-petroleum carbon to the atmosphere, we are usually doing it via bacteria. Bacteria taught us how to make many of the chemicals and medicines we now make from petroleum.

Bacteria never needed petroleum to make the chemicals we now rely on.

different colonies
different colonies

The way back is through bacteria.

Bacteria are not a monolith, however. No one can stand in for any other, just as humans and goats are not interchangeable when there is a need for a mammal.

That is why MicroByre does not use E. coli. One well-understood bacteria species cannot replace an entire ecosystem. Model organisms are a good pattern for pedagogy, but they have failed us for innovation.

MicroByre is a platform for domesticating novel bacteria.

We approach bacteria the same way humans once approached the wild auroch. We build an understanding of their needs and abilities, and then we use careful cultivation and genetic engineering to propose a mutually beneficial arrangement.

We start with wild, independent specialists with an inborn inclination for relevant chemistries. We end up with domesticated virtuosos capable of challenging our chemical dependence on petroleum.

It takes a lot of different skills to suceed.

Cells are complex systems that navigate even more complex systems. Identifying and exploiting the important details requires skills and techniques from several distinct fields. We assembled a team of microbiologists, chemists, molecular biologists, data scientists, and computer scientists to automate the collection and curation of bacterial data.

The right data means less risk.

Our unique platform generates and curates more data about more bacteria more quickly than any microbiology laboratory. We can tell which species are most economically relevant to any given industrial process. We can see how to approach them successfully. And we watch them warm to the task as we iterate through generations of genetic engineering.

circular colonies
compost

MicroByre changes the economics of biomanufacturing.

Imagine a future where no biomass rots into methane. Where your compost and waste water and even the grass clippings from your backyard have value, because they can be fermented into life saving medicines or the chemicals used to make your cell phone.

We see a future where industry and bacteria have a mutually beneficial, profitable, and earth-friendly relationship. Where chemical manufacturing is more like farming than petrochemistry. To get there, we’re befriending bacteria just as fast as we can.